Historic Infrastructure Bill Will Benefit Minnesota for Years to Come

I was at the White House in November when President Biden signed the historic bipartisan infrastructure bill into law. I pushed hard to get the measure through the Senate and over the finish line because in the coming months and years, it will create thousands of jobs, make our state more competitive and improve the lives of rural, urban, suburban, and Tribal communities across Minnesota.

Last week, I also joined the President when he visited Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) in Rosemount to talk about how the new law will directly improve the lives of all Minnesotans. At that event, he highlighted not only how it will make badly needed upgrades to our roads, bridges and water systems, but also advance two of my top priorities: addressing the climate crisis and expanding broadband service to Minnesota communities that aren’t yet connected. 

The estimated impacts on key areas in Minnesota are historic. Minnesota will receive at least:

  • $4.5 billion for Minnesota highways
  • $302 million for Minnesota bridges
  • $680 million for lead service line replacements to update Minnesota’s water infrastructure
  • $297 million for Minnesota airports
  • $856 million for Minnesota transit systems in rural, suburban and urban areas
  • $68 million for electric vehicle charging in Minnesota
  • At least $100 million to expand broadband to the tens of thousands of Minnesota households that currently do not have internet access

As these historic investments are put in place in the coming years, Minnesotans will benefit in many ways.

“Buy America, Build America” to Benefit Minnesota 

All iron and steel products used in our building projects will now be “melted and poured” right here in the United States. With the support of United Steelworkers and other U.S. steel producers, more of our Minnesota construction projects will now be built with domestic-made products.

Products that claim to be “American-made” will now be held to a higher standard. Buy America, Build America also requires 55 to 70 percent of any product to be produced domestically to qualify as a “U.S.-made” product. These provisions will help create and keep jobs in Minnesota.

Clean Energy and Climate Resilient Infrastructure

I pushed to ensure the new law includes provisions to deal with our climate crisis. It provides funds for MnDOT electric vehicles, low-or-zero emission school buses and federal grants to deploy publicly accessible electric vehicle chargers. The law provides funding to help communities respond to drought, flooding, and wildfires, funding to strengthen the electric grid and funding to help weatherize homes. These grants will help Minnesotans adapt to extreme weather and support energy efficiency. Grants to improve our water and wastewater infrastructure, including replacement of lead service lines, will ensure fair access to clean drinking water.

Grant funding has also been provided for local Minnesota governments to support bridge improvements across the state. With stronger support from federal grants, the nation’s bridge repair backlog can finally be reduced and projects that otherwise would have taken years to finish will now have the resources to complete construction quickly. These investments will allow Minnesotans to get where they need to go more quickly and safely.

Increasing Broadband Access and Affordability Across the State

The new law includes grants to provide Internet access to the 171,000 Minnesota families and businesses who currently struggle without it. Twenty-five percent of Black and Latino households in Minnesota, and 14 percent of white Minnesota households do not have home internet access on any device.

In addition, there are provisions to help 1.1 million low-income Minnesota families afford internet access so they can connect and do school work, work from home or even start a new business.

-Tina Smith

P.S. – As Winter Approaches, Assistance with Heating Costs is Available.

With winter cold coming soon to Minnesota, heating bills add up quickly. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps eligible Minnesotans with their energy costs. To apply for this winter, please visit https://mn.gov/commerce/consumers/consumer-assistance/energy-assistance/