WASHINGTON — Iowa U-S Senator Joni Ernst says an infrastructure bill that cleared a senate committee last week includes money for replacing Iowa bridges and repairing some locks and dams. Ernst is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The panel passed the 287-billion dollar bill unanimously.
In addition to infrastructure funding, Ernst says the bill removes “Washington red tape” to streamline project funding. “For Iowa, specifically, we really need to be able to deliver the transportation infrastructure projects that keep our people and our economy moving,” Ernst said.
Several provisions from Ernst were included in the final version of the bill, including funding for lock and dam modernization, additional transportation planning funding and an amendment that will ensure Iowa’s portion of highway funding is maintained. Additionally, the bill includes more than three-billion dollars for bridge replacements, something Ernst says is needed in Iowa. “Right now, Iowa currently has the most structurally-deficient bridges in the nation,” Ernst says.
The bill does include a grant program for charging stations for electric vehicles. Ernst says she is disappointed the provision doesn’t apply to new ethanol and biodiesel pumps. “Not having that included in that grant program was really disappointing to me, but I’ll continue working with my colleagues on that issue,” Ernst says.
In the end, Ernst says it’s rare to have a bill pass a senate committee unanimously. “Making sure that our infrastructure is taken care of is very important to everyone,” she said, “regardless of what state we come from.”
The bill will now head to the full Senate for consideration.