House Democratic Caucus Chairman and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries was joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, other congress members, and the local labor groups for a conference on investing in the nation’s infrastructure on Monday, March 14 at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
“For decades in Washington, D.C. it seemed like there was infrastructure week every other week,” said Jeffries from the waterfront. “Nothing ever got done.”
House Democrats worked alongside President Joe Biden in passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021, said Jeffries’ office. The bill provides $550 billion in new spending to fix crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, airports and mass transit systems.
“With the effects of the pandemic on the construction industry, it is now more important than ever before to invest in our infrastructure improvements in our country and provide good paying union jobs,” said New York City District Council of Carpenters Representative Gerry Mathews.
Over the next five years, New York will receive $11.6 billion for highways, $1.9 billion for bridge replacement, $9.8 billion for public transit across the state, and $685 million for airport upgrades, said Jeffries’ office.
“We have not been deterred,” said U.S. Rep Yvette D. Clarke. “We continued to press forward for the people of our city and only months ago did the House pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with unprecedented commitment to rebuild our communities and help all Americans. These changes, new transformative resources will be brought into Brooklyn where working class communities of color, immigrant families have long been subjected to marginalization and neglect.”
Clarke highlighted that universal broadband was especially overdue for many communities.
On the issue of broadband, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi added that it was central to workforce stability and development.
“It’s about the quality of life, our quality of infrastructure,” said Pelosi. “It’s also about the quality of our fairness and environmental justice.”
The infrastructure investment will also help tackle the climate crisis, with $2.6 billion to improve water infrastructure across the state, climate resiliency, access to clean drinking water, toxic pollution cleanups, and electric school buses, said U.S. Rep Nydia Velázquez.
“We saw the problems that were created during Hurricane Sandy. We recognized back then that climate change was here and here to stay,” said Velázquez.
Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w