For the past two years, President Biden has frequently quipped “infrastructure week” was nothing more than a punchline during the Trump administration. On Friday, it will be a cause for celebration for his administration.
Industry advocates and trade groups mark infrastructure week in Washington, D.C., every May, and the Biden administration is taking advantage to tout the progress it has made in the 18 months since the president signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“It became a punchline about infrastructure week. Essentially, we not only have an infrastructure week, we have it every week, and it actually is going to go on for a decade. And we have the receipts to talk about it,” Mitch Landrieu, who is overseeing the implementation of the law, told a small group of reporters.
The bipartisan law, which has been among the most significant pieces of legislation signed during Biden’s first term, allocated $1.2 trillion in funding for investments in the nation’s roads, bridges, railways and airports.
In the year and a half since the law was enacted, the Biden administration has announced more than $220 billion in funding through the legislation, covering more than 32,000 projects that span all 50 states.
The investments include more than 4,600 bridge improvement projects that are underway and 69,000 miles of road repairs that were started in fiscal 2022.
In addition to improving bridges, railways, roads and airports, money from the bipartisan law has been used to help replace lead pipes, clean up polluted sites and invest in electrical vehicle charging stations.
The White House on Friday released a map highlighting thousands of projects that are being supported by the infrastructure law.
Administration officials have made more than 300 trips nationwide to promote investments made possible by the bipartisan law. Biden this year traveled to Kentucky to highlight improvements to the Brent Spence Bridge, which connects the state to Ohio, and he was joined by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Coinciding with infrastructure week, the Federal Railroad Administration will break ground on the Walk Bridge Replacement, one of the oldest in the Northeast Corridor that is used by Metro North and Amtrak. Landrieu will be in Illinois to highlight investments to improve locks and dams, and first lady Jill Biden will visit Alaska to spotlight the state’s tribal broadband project.
The infrastructure law has been a cornerstone of Biden’s economic agenda, which is focused on investing in the country and in the middle class in particular. But polls have shown voters largely disapprove of his handling of the economy as he seeks a second term.
Landrieu noted groups like the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the American Society of Engineers, and Infrastructure Report Card are the ones that organize the official infrastructure week.
But he argued Biden has earned the right to frequently remind voters his administration is the one that was able to pass critical investments in the nation’s roads, bridges and railways after so many of his predecessors promised they would, only to come up short.
“He’s entitled to remind people that his predecessor, and the guy before that, and the guy before that, and the guy before that, you know, basically said they were going to do it,” Landrieu said. “We actually got it done. So I think that he deserves a lot of latitude of reminding people how far we’ve come.”