Nov 9, 2021 - News

What the infrastructure bill means for the D.C. region

A freight train on Long Bridge, which crosses the Potomac River

A freight train on Long Bridge that crosses the Potomac River. Photo: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure package headed to President Biden's desk would continue funding Metro through 2030 and cover hundreds of miles of road projects across the region.

  • The bill also includes funding to replace lead water pipes, expand broadband access, install electric vehicle charging stations, fund bridge projects, and more.

Zoom in: In D.C., public transportation would see a $1.2 billion boost over five years, according to the White House.

  • The city is also projected to receive $355 million to replace lead water lines, $1.1 billion for federal highways, $225 million for bridges, and $17 million to build EV chargers.
  • Part of the bill reauthorizes WMATA funding through fiscal 2030 at current levels, which is $150 million annually.
  • Additionally, the bill gives Virginia an additional $1.2 billion and Maryland $1.7 billion for public transit improvements.

In Virginia, the package includes $7 billion for highway repair and $537 million for bridge repair.

  • According to the office of Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the state has 577 bridges and 2,124 miles of highways in bad condition.
  • The bill also includes rail funding, which Warner's office says will be used to fund existing rail projects, including the construction of a new Long Bridge across the Potomac River to increase rail capacity from D.C. to Virginia.

Broadband access remains a problem for both rural and urban areas.

  • D.C., Maryland, and Virginia will each receive $100 million for expanding high-speed access.
  • Warner's office says 23% of Virginians would be eligible for a benefit that would subsidize internet access for low-income families.

Going green: Also included is $238 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program, a regional partnership to restore the bay and reduce pollution.

Virginia would receive an estimated $106 million over five years and Maryland $63 million to expand an electric car charging network across those states, with additional grant funding available via applications.

Our thought bubble: Once the money is out the door, it is up to states and local governments to make sure it gets spent efficiently.


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