WASHINGTON – The National Association of Counties (NACo) praised the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure package by the U.S. Senate. The bill includes a five-year surface transportation reauthorization and invests in other infrastructure, including water, stormwater and broadband projects.
The bill also includes an increase to the off-system bridge set-aside, which supports bridges that are not part of the federal-aid highway system, as well as a three-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools program.
NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase said:
Counties applaud the U.S. Senate for passing this much-needed infrastructure bill, which will help rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and our economy. We appreciate our Senate champions who developed this comprehensive bipartisan legislation that invests in locally owned infrastructure and preserves local decision-making.
“Counties play a major role in maintaining critical infrastructure. We own 44 percent of the nation’s road miles and nearly 40 percent of all bridges. We are also involved in the vast majority of public transportation systems and a third of all public airports. Beyond transportation, counties are responsible for the operation of local water systems and ensuring the safety and resiliency of our communities.
“Counties own nearly two-thirds of off-system bridges and thank lawmakers for the much-needed investments in these important local connections. We welcome increases to flexible grant programs, the creation of a new bridge investment program and meaningful commitments to transportation safety. Additionally, raising the cap on Private Activity Bonds will facilitate the construction of infrastructure projects that will enhance the quality of life for many residents.
“We are also pleased to see historic investments in high-speed internet, as counties advance efforts to expand access to affordable broadband in every corner of the country.
“We commend senators for including a three-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools revenue-sharing program, which compensates approximately 700 counties and school districts for declining federal timber harvests.
“We call on the U.S. House to quickly pass the infrastructure bill. America’s counties are ready to work with our bipartisan congressional partners and the Biden-Harris administration to strengthen our infrastructure and our economy.”
Read NACo’s executive summary of the infrastructure bill here. See the latest federal transportation and infrastructure policy proposals impacting counties here. Learn more about NACo’s transportation and infrastructure priorities here.Standard