Nov 8, 2021 - News

What the $1T infrastructure bill means for Colorado

Illustration of a steam roller rolling out a hundred dollar bill and stretching it out.  

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill will deliver billions to Colorado — money that can upgrade the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels and cover the cost of wildfire prevention.

Why it matters: The bipartisan U.S. House vote that won approval late Friday — led by Democrats and backed by 13 Republican lawmakers — is one of the most significant infusions of federal dollars toward infrastructure and climate mitigation in history.

By the numbers: Colorado expects to receive at least $3.7 billion in federal highway money and $225 million to repair and replace crumbling bridges in the next five years, according to the White House.

  • In addition, the state hopes get at least $916 million for public transit, $57 million for electric vehicle charging stations, $100 million for broadband expansion and $35 million for wildfire mitigation.

For the record: In the House vote, all four Colorado Democrats supported the bill, and all three Republicans voted against it.

  • U.S. Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) said in a statement: "For too long, not investing in American infrastructure and the American people has allowed us to fall behind. This historic legislation makes those critical investments to improve life for millions of Coloradans."

The other side: U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-Windsor) called the legislation a "massive socialist reconciliation package."

  • U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Rifle) described it as "wasteful" and blasted other GOP members who voted for the bill.

What's next: The House delayed a vote on the $1.75 trillion social spending bill, which includes even more for climate change and safety net programs, until later this month, frustrating progressive Democrats who wanted the packages paired.

  • Other provisions in the bill are designed to help reduce the cost of childcare, provide free preschool to 3- and 4-year-olds, and issue housing assistance.
  • The package includes a one-year extension of the Child Tax Credit championed by Sen. Michael Bennet.
  • In a call Thursday, the Democrat touted the reconciliation bill as "the single largest investment in fighting climate change."

Of note: U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette) played a role in the final negotiations and issued a statement calling the infrastructure legislation "a first step of many."

Editor's note: This has been corrected to specify that references to provisions for child care, preschool and the Child Tax Credit are included in a separate budget reconciliation bill that has yet to pass Congress, not in the infrastructure bill.


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