Investments in transportation, clean water, broadband expansion, resilience, and more are on their way to the Bay State
Boston (November 8, 2021) - Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, released the following statement as President Joe Biden and his administration detailed the investments included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act today. The legislation includes Senator Markey’s critical priorities to enhance safety, promote equity, and increase funding for passenger rail, public transit, bridges, roads, clean water, and broadband in Massachusetts.
Over the next five years, based on formula funding alone and according to the White House, Massachusetts will receive a dedicated $4.2 billion for road improvements, $1.1 billion for bridge replacement and repair, and $2.5 billion for enhancing public transit systems like the MBTA. In addition, Massachusetts will receive $1.1 billion to improve its water infrastructure, helping to provide clean and safe drinking water across the Commonwealth. Massachusetts is also expected to receive $244 million for airport infrastructure, at least $100 million to promote broadband access, $63 million for deploying electric vehicle charging infrastructure, $15.7 million to strengthen cybersecurity, and $5.8 million to protect against wildfires. In total, Massachusetts is set to benefit from more than $9 billion in federal investment, while the state can also compete to receive billions more under the infrastructure bill’s numerous grant programs.
“Although the bipartisan infrastructure package is by no means all we need to accomplish this Congress, the legislation now on President Biden’s desk fulfills a crucial component of our domestic agenda,” said Senator Markey. “This bill includes key funding and policies to begin transforming our physical infrastructure for the 21st century, while promoting greater equity and starting to solve long-unaddressed safety challenges. By investing billions more in Massachusetts, we can finally begin the process of replacing the Cape Cod bridges and updating the MBTA to make it more efficient and climate resilient. We can also advance essential projects like East-West Rail and help close our digital divide by connecting families from the Berkshires to Boston with high-speed internet. We will reduce roadway fatalities and promote clean drinking water across the Commonwealth, while creating good-paying jobs and spurring new economic growth.
“While I am proud that the bipartisan infrastructure package includes these critical priorities that I have fought for, we cannot and will not stop with just this one bill. We also must work urgently to pass the Build Back Better Act to make the historic investments in climate and clean energy solutions that will create millions of jobs and promote long-overdue justice.”
Senator Markey’s provisions incorporated into the bipartisan infrastructure legislation include:
- BRAIN TRAIN Act – The bipartisan infrastructure bill establishes a new Corridor Identification and Development Program aligned with, and that includes language from, Senator Markey’s BRAIN TRAIN Act, legislation to advance intercity passenger rail projects that create new service, enhance service, or restore former service in unserved and underserved communities such as those in Western Massachusetts. Through this program, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will create a pipeline of identified rail projects eligible for federal funding. The bill then provides $12 billion over five years for such projects, while giving funding preference to proposals included in the new development pipeline and that serve historically unconnected or under-connected areas, such as East-West Rail in Massachusetts.
- Warren Cowles Grade Crossing Safety Act - The infrastructure bill includes a new $3 billion Railroad Crossing Elimination Program, which mirrors the goals of and incorporates language from Senator Markey’s Warren Cowles Grade Crossing Safety Act. This significant new funding will reduce rail-related fatalities nationwide – like the tragic death of Warren Cowles in Longmeadow, Massachusetts – by supporting critical improvements to highway-rail crossings, such as eliminating grade crossings, adding protective gates and signals, relocating track, or installing bridges.
- Bridge Investment Act - Senator Markey is an original co-sponsor of the Bridge Investment Act, legislation to establish a competitive grant program to assist with the repair and replacement of deficient and outdated bridges and ease the national bridge repair backlog. The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes this legislation and provides $12.5 billion over the next five years to assist state, local, federal and tribal entities in rehabilitating or replacing bridges, like the Cape Cod Canal Bridges.
- Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act - The infrastructure package includes a modified version of the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act, bipartisan legislation that Senator Markey introduced with Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). That legislation would dedicate $1 billion over the next five years to connect walking and biking infrastructure into accessible, affordable, and safe active transportation networks that allow people to reach destinations within a community, as well as travel between communities, without ever needing a car.
- Promoting Auto Recalls Toward Safety (PARTS) Act - The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes Senator Markey’s PARTS Act, which enhances the effectiveness of automotive recalls by authorizing the Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide grants to states for use in notifying registered car owners about manufacturer-issued safety recalls. The legislation also requires automakers to complete extended reporting on their recall campaigns, as well as instructs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to publish an annual list detailing recall completion rates and effectiveness.
- Modernizing Seat Back Safety Act - The infrastructure legislation includes a modified version of Senator Markey’s Modernizing Seat Back Safety Act, which requires NHTSA to issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to update seat back safety standards, in order to prevent repeated tragedies caused by seat back collapse during car crashes. If NHTSA determines that a final rule is appropriate based on its ANPRM, the agency shall then issue updated seat back safety standards for new cars.
- Stay Aware for Everyone (SAFE) Act - The bipartisan bill includes a modified version of Senator Markey’s SAFE Act, which requires the DOT to study how driver-monitoring systems can prevent driver distraction, driver disengagement, automation complacency, and the foreseeable misuse of advanced driver-assist systems. If warranted based on the results of this study, the bill then requires a rulemaking to require the installation of driver-monitoring systems in new cars, which shall incorporate appropriate privacy and data security safeguards.
- Early Warning Reporting System Improvement Act - The infrastructure bill includes Senator Markey’s Early Warning Reporting System Improvement Act, which strengthens compliance requirements for automakers to report on potential defects and incidents involving fatalities and serious injuries to NHTSA. The legislation also directs NHTSA to make the information it receives through its vehicle safety databases publicly available in a more user-friendly format, so that consumers and independent safety experts can evaluate potential safety defects themselves.
- Complete Streets - The bipartisan infrastructure bill aligns with Senator Markey’s Complete Streets Act by requiring that states and metropolitan planning organizations set aside 2.5 percent of their highway planning funding for designing “complete streets” projects and policies that will improve safety and accessibility for all users of the road. A “complete street” is one designed to provide safe and accessible transportation options for multiple modes of travel, as well as for people of all ages and abilities.
- ESCAPE Act - As part of an overarching climate resiliency program, the infrastructure package includes Senator Markey’s ESCAPE Act and dedicates $140 million over five years for projects to improve, fortify, or replace life-saving evacuation routes, including arteries such as the Cape Cod Canal Bridges.
- Reducing Carbon Emissions - The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes language that mirrors the goals of Senator Markey’s GREEN STREETS Act, requiring states to prioritize and develop strategies to reduce carbon emissions from transportation sources, and to provide funding to achieve those goals.
- Equity for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure - The bipartisan legislation includes $1.25 billion to build electric vehicle and alternative fueling charging infrastructure in disadvantaged, rural, densely populated, and low- and moderate-income communities, as well as fund educational and community engagement programs to support the use of zero-emission transportation. These policies and aims mirror those in Senator Markey’s Community Vehicle Charging Act of 2021.
- Security and Privacy in Your Car (SPY Car) Act - The infrastructure bill includes a section of Senator Markey’s SPY Car Act, which requires the Federal Highway Administration to create a “cybersecurity tool” and appoint a “cyber coordinator” that will help transportation authorities identify, detect, protect against, respond to, and recover from cyber incidents.
- Ensuring Transparency and Accountability - The bipartisan legislation includes language that Senator Markey requested to ensure that the Federal Railroad Administration will provide public notice and an opportunity to comment before it can waive or suspend critical track safety standards, which will ensure stakeholders and the public can weigh in on these important safety issues before the agency makes any decisions.
- Clean Drinking Water—The infrastructure bill includes Senator Markey's provisions to increase funding for the Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities Program—which helps underserved, small, and disadvantaged communities meet Safe Drinking Water Act requirements in public water systems—to $510 million over five years. The Senator’s provisions also allow this funding to go toward filters for on-site, immediate water quality improvement, and partnerships with nonprofit organizations for technical expertise to help map and manage small and disadvantaged water system assets.
- Combined Sewer Overflows— The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes Senator Markey's provision to expand an existing municipal sewer overflow grant program to allow federal funds to help develop notification systems that warn communities, such as those along the Merrimack River in Massachusetts, when sewage overflows into their drinking water—a critical safety measure to help protect public health as experts work to address overflow prevention at the source.