May 29, 2024 6:51 am
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Last Year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework Will Improve NC Infrastructure

Credit: iStock

Reinette LeJeune

For decades, North Carolina’s infrastructure has suffered from systemic lack of investment, but with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework Deal millions of residents in the state will see improvements that will increase the quality of life through the creation of good-paying jobs and economic growth. President Biden and Vice President Harris announced their support for the plan, which has become the largest long-term investment into infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework Deal will see to the repairs and rebuilding of roads and bridges, focusing on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users – including cyclists and pedestrians. Currently within the state, there are 1,460 bridges and over 3,116 miles of highway in poor condition. Commute times in the state have increased by 10.7 percent since 2011, costing each driver $500 on average per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. This new deal will dedicate $312 billion to strengthen the resiliency of the nation’s infrastructure, with $110 billion being devoted to road repairs, bridge repairs, and other major projects. And as our infrastructure is rebuilt, investments will also be put towards preparing that infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyber attacks, and extreme weather events. The state has experienced 42 extreme weather events from 2010 to 2020, costing the state nearly $50 billion in damages. An investment of $47 billion will go towards the strengthening of resiliency but also to support any community recoveries after disasters occur. 

The improvement of healthy, sustainable transportation options for Americans is another facet of the deal. North Carolinians who rely on public transportation spend an additional 59.9 percent of their time commuting – with non-white households 3.4 times more likely to rely on public transportation for their commutes. 15 percent of the trains and other transit vehicles within North Carolina are past their useful life expectancy. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework aims to modernize these public tansits with a $48.5 billion investment, and another $66 billion to be invested in passenger and freight rails. 

The delivery of clean drinking water to tens of millions of American families as well as over 400,000 schools and child-care facilities that are currently without it is another major focal point of the deal. Officials have estimated that over the next 20 years, North Carolina’s drinking water infrastructure will require at least $16.8 billion in additional funding. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework includes a $55 billion investment to ensure that clean, safe drinking water is accessible to all communities while eliminating the nation’s lead service lines and pipes. 

The state will also see an investment to connect residents with reliable high-speed internet which has been a major inaccessible luxury for some. 6.5% of North Carolinians live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds. Additionally, 56.3% of North Carolinians live in areas where there is only one such internet provider. 14% of North Carolina households have no internet subscriptions at all. The Framework will invest $65 billion to bring universal, reliable, high-speed, and affordable coverage to every family in America. To ensure such access to the internet, the state will equally invest in reducing energy costs with the building of thousands of miles of new transmission lines to facilitate the future expansion of renewable energy through a newly formed Grid Authority. 

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