May 29, 2024 6:51 am
Close this search box.

Local News

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. 

Biden administration touts NC investments to kick off “Infrastructure Week”

The Biden administration’s significant infrastructure investments are transforming North Carolina, highlighted by projects such as the $110 million replacement of the Alligator River Bridge and the $1 billion high-speed rail line connecting Raleigh to Richmond. However, with only 17% of the allocated $1.1 trillion spent to date, the administration faces challenges in demonstrating these impacts to voters before the upcoming November election.

Raleigh City Council approves $5 million for new pilot program to address homelessness

The Raleigh City Council has approved a $5 million pilot program to provide direct rent assistance to unsheltered individuals. The “Unsheltered Homelessness Response Program” allocates $1.9 million for direct subsidies to help individuals move into permanent housing and $2 million to expand housing options, including repairs to city-owned rental units and affordable housing.

Development pressures, higher taxes threaten to displace Black homeowners in SE Raleigh

On a sunny spring afternoon, a predominantly Black crowd gathered at Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh to learn about appealing their property taxes, which have soared due to rising property values. With property values in Wake County increasing by 56% from 2020 to 2024, many long-time residents on fixed incomes are struggling to keep up with the higher taxes, leading to widespread concerns about systemic inequities and displacement in historically Black neighborhoods.