WASHINGTON - Today, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) voted to pass H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. The bill is a more than $1.5 trillion plan to rebuild American infrastructure—not only roads, bridges, and transit systems, but also schools, housing, broadband access, and so much more.
The package includes measures led by Blunt Rochester, including fixing leak-prone infrastructure in the natural gas distribution system to mitigate methane leaks, invests in upgrades to public building infrastructure to increase energy efficiency, and creating a competitive grant program to incentivize climate action plans at our nation’s ports that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants.
“As America continues our economic recovery from COVID-19 with over 40 million Americans having filed for unemployment since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been presented with an opportunity to make a down payment on our future, create good-paying jobs, and make meaningful investments. From roads and bridges to our drinking water and broadband systems, we know that we are in dire need of investment in our public infrastructure,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “That’s why I was proud to join my colleagues in passing H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. I’m also proud that a number of provisions that I’ve championed this Congress have made it into the final package, including replacing leak-prone parts of our natural gas distribution system, investing in public buildings to make them more energy-efficient, and incentivizing our nation’s ports, like the Port of Wilmington, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollutants.”
H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act includes the following provisions lead by Blunt Rochester:
- H.R. 5422, the Mitigate Methane Now Act – This bill incentivizes replacing old, leak-prone infrastructure in the natural gas distribution system, which will protect our communities from potentially dangerous explosions, save consumers money, and reduce potent methane emissions that fuel climate change.
- H.R. 7303, the Open Back Better Act – Invests in upgrades to public building infrastructure, like hospitals and schools, making it more energy efficient and resilient. 40% of funding must be used toward projects in Environmental Justice or low-income communities.
- H.R. 7304, the Climate Action Planning for Ports Act- Creates a competitive grant program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that incentivizes ports to create and implement climate action plans to reduce GHG emissions and other air pollutants. The grants will be prioritized based on several factors: regional collaboration, engagement of EJ and near-port communities in developing the climate action plans, and utilizing zero emissions as a key strategy of the plan.
The Moving Forward Act also includes:
Climate and energy provisions that:
- Invests $60 billion in rail, including in Amtrak’s northeast corridor
- Invests $2 billion to identify and remediate orphan oil and gas wells that pose risks to public health and the environment.
- Allocates $6 billion to the U.S. Postal Service to update 75% of its fleet to electric power.
- Enhances funding for zero-emissions bus grants to $1.7 billion.
- Creates a $10 million pilot program to electrify heavy-duty refrigerated vehicles.
Clean water and drinking water provisions that:
- Invests $8 billion annually for five years in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund
- Increases the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to $5.5 billion in 2024 and 2025.
- Authorizes $500 million to help states and tribes establish and implement water pollution control programs and improve water quality.
- Authorizes a grant program to help wastewater utilities increase the resiliency of water systems, prioritizing assistance for low-income communities.
- Authorizes up to $1 billion annually in grants to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants by implementing pretreatment standards and effluent limitations.
- Increases funding to $2 billion annually for Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants, which help communities address sewer overflows and stormwater management. It also reduces the non-federal cost share for low-income communities, allowing underserved communities to better access this program.
Housing provisions that:
- Invests over $100 billion into our nation's affordable housing infrastructure to create or preserve 1.8 million affordable homes, helping to reduce housing inequality, create jobs, and stimulate the broader economy, increase community and household resiliency in the face of natural disasters, improve hazardous living conditions, and increase the environmental sustainability of our housing stock.
- Establishes a new Neighborhood Investment tax credit that would subsidize certain development costs to encourage the rehabilitation of vacant homes or construction of new homes in distressed areas. The credit requires homes to be owner-occupied and contains other limits meant to maintain affordable housing prices in these communities.
Broadband provisions that:
- Delivers affordable high-speed broadband Internet access to all parts of the country by investing $100 billion to promote competition for broadband internet infrastructure to unserved and underserved rural, suburban, and urban communities, prioritizing communities in persistent poverty and ensuring that broadband-related support is being administered in an efficient, technology-neutral, and financially sustainable manner.
Health care provisions that:
- Modernizes the nation’s health care infrastructure by investing $30 billion to upgrade hospitals to increase capacity and strengthen care, help community health centers respond to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies, improve clinical laboratory infrastructure, support the Indian Health Service‘s infrastructure, and increase capacity for community-based care.
Education provisions that:
- Invests in schools with the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act, which invests $130 billion targeted at high-poverty schools with facilities that endanger the health and safety of students and educators. This investment will help students get back to school and create over 2 million jobs to help workers get back to work.