Sen. McConnell: Bipartisan infrastructure bill would bring billions of dollars to Kentucky if passed as is

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., heads to the chamber to begin the week as...
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., heads to the chamber to begin the week as Democrats try to advance President Joe Biden's legislative agenda, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 21, 2021.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 12:46 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON D.C. (WYMT) - Kentucky’s senior senator and Senate Republican Leader joined 18 other Republicans to vote for a sweeping $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that passed by a wide margin on Tuesday.

The bill now heads back to the House of Representatives for their consideration before it goes to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed.

Sen. Mitch McConnell mentioned several of the projects funding would go to in a news release if the bill is allowed to pass as is.

Below is an outline of the funding:

  • Designates the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Expressway as an I-65 interstate spur. By designating the expressway as a spur of I-65, the expressway would be eligible for federal assistance. The designation maintains the existing weight limit to continue the use of agriculture vehicles on the roadway. Senator McConnell and Congressmen Hal Rogers and James Comer have long advocated for this designation. Opening the Cumberland Expressway to federal resources can boost investment and economic development opportunities across this region.
  • Provides critical funding to states for roads, highways and bridges. Kentucky would receive $4.6 billion 5 years for its infrastructure needs. The historic investment in Kentucky’s roads, highways and bridges will provide the state with certainty to plan road projects. In addition to this funding, Kentucky would also receive $438 million in direct bridge funding for state to further invest in the rehabilitation, repair and replacement of bridges.
  • Includes several competitive grant programs that states may apply for to help fund major bridge and road projects, giving Kentucky the opportunity to address projects like the Brent Spence and I-69 bridges.

$12.5 billion in competitive grants for bridge projects. For bridges of regional significance with total costs of greater than $100 million, grant awards would be at least $50 million.

$5 billion for the brand new National Infrastructure Project Assistance grant program. Supports multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional projects, like the Brent Spence Corridor project.

$7.5 billion for the RAISE (formerly BUILD) grant program. This competitive grant program funds surface transportation projects of local and regional significance.

$3.2 billion for the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program. These competitive funds support highway and rail projects that are deemed regionally and nationally significant.

  • Helps Kentucky complete its Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) corridors. Kentucky will receive $69 million of the $1.25 billion dedicated to this program. The state could also apply for funding from a $2 billion new Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program that reserves at least 25% of funding for projects to complete the ADHS, which helps spur economic development in Appalachia.
  • Provides $391 million for Kentucky’s public transportation priorities.
  • $25 billion for airport infrastructure improvements. The majority of the funding will be distributed by a formula, so Kentucky airports are guaranteed to receive funding.
  • $11.2 billion for Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund. Kentucky ranks third among all states with abandoned mine land reclamation needs and would receive a portion of these funds.
  • $1.5 billion for Brownfield Site Land Revitalization. Kentucky, which has over 8,000 brownfield sites, is eligible to apply for funds via a competitive federal grant program.
  • $65 billion for broadband deployment and improvement – Kentucky will be eligible to receive a portion of this funding:

Funding from the $2 billion provided to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for programs like the ReConnect Program, which provides loans and grants to fund the construction, acquisition or improvement of facilities and equipment that provide broadband service in rural areas. Kentucky communities and organizations are eligible for this funding through the competitive federal grant program.

Kentucky also will receive at a minimum, $100 million for broadband deployment through a new grant program administered by United States Department of Commerce to expand broadband to unserved and underserved areas

  • Authorizes $4.7 billion for Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells – Kentucky has the fourth most abandoned well sites in the United States, with more than 14,000 total in nearly every county. Kentucky is eligible to receive a portion of these funds through a competitive federal grant program.
  • $1.6 billion for Dam Safety Removal through existing FEMA, NOAA, Army Corps, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. Kentucky has benefitted from these programs in the past and they could provide benefit Lock and Dam #1 on the Barren River.
  • Authorizes up to $418 million to Kentucky’s clean and drinking water programs. In a 5 year span, Kentucky may receive up to $235 million through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund and $182 million through the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund.
  • $1 billion to Appalachian Regional Commission, which will benefit many counties in Eastern Kentucky.
  • Kentucky will benefit from the $1 billion State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program to increase investment in cybersecurity for critical infrastructure.

All 50 Senate Democrats voted for the measure. Here are the 18 other Republicans who joined them in the 69-30 effort:

  • Roy Blunt of Missouri
  • Richard Burr of North Carolina
  • Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
  • Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
  • Susan Collins of Maine
  • Kevin Cramer of North Dakota
  • Mike Crapo of Idaho
  • Deb Fischer of Nebraska
  • Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
  • Chuck Grassley of Iowa
  • John Hoeven of North Dakota
  • Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
  • Rob Portman of Ohio
  • Jim Risch of Idaho
  • Mitt Romney of Utah
  • Dan Sullivan of Alaska
  • Thom Tillis of North Carolina
  • Roger Wicker of Mississippi

Vice President Kamala Harris gaveled in the final vote.

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