The U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Tuesday. A total of $1.2 trillion will be invested in projects to improve transportation infrastructure, broadband access, the energy grid, and water systems. The bill includes $550 billion in new federal spending to support ongoing programs and develop new infrastructure initiatives. It is one of the largest investments made in critical infrastructure in decades. Several agricultural organizations have expressed support for the Senate’s action.
“AFBF appreciates the Senate for working together in a bipartisan manner to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The pressing infrastructure issues facing our nation are too important to ignore, particularly in rural communities where modernization is desperately needed,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a news release. “Farmers and ranchers depend on millions of miles of roadways and waterways to get their products to America’s dinner tables, and they rely on ports to ship food, fiber and fuel to countries around the world. Improvements in transportation infrastructure, as well as repair and upgrades to the aging western water infrastructure, will ensure farmers can continue to keep this nation fed.”
Of particular interest to California farmers and ranchers is the $8 billion in funding for Western water infrastructure. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide support for the repair and refurbishment of dams and canals. Investments in new water storage and conveyance will also be made under the legislation. Water treatment and recycling facilities will also receive funding support.
“With drought conditions continuing to worsen throughout the West, now is the time to invest and make timely improvements in our nation’s water management portfolio,” said California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson. “The diverse investments in Western water infrastructure and our national forestlands included in this package will assist farmers, ranchers, water providers and rural communities impacted by wildfires, water shortages and a changing hydrology.”