Manchin Praises House Passage Of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

November 5, 2021

Charleston, WV – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) praised the U.S. House of Representatives passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that will bring around $6 billion to West Virginia for infrastructure investments over the next five years. The Senate passed the legislation in August. 

“West Virginia has 1,545 bridges and more than 3,200 miles of highway in poor condition and 32 percent of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life. At least 258,000 West Virginians have no broadband access,” said Senator Manchin. “Our bipartisan bill will help West Virginia, and every other state in the nation, address the infrastructure needs of our nation while creating good-paying jobs and growing the economy. This type of investment hasn’t been made in three decades. I am pleased the House of Representatives passed this bipartisan legislation, and look forward to President Biden signing it into law. I have always said that the best politics is good government, and I’m incredibly proud of my bipartisan colleagues for their tireless efforts to get this across the finish line and deliver on this major investment in the needs of America.”

The bipartisan infrastructure bill section by section can be found below or here.

  • Broadband: $65B - Grants to states for broadband deployment, makes broadband access more affordable for low-income families, expands eligible private activity bond projects to include broadband infrastructure, and supports middle-mile deployment efforts.
  • Roads, Bridges, & major projects: $110B - Includes the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act and Surface Transportation Investment Act. Funds new, dedicated grant program to replace and repair bridges and increases funding for the major project competitive grant programs. At the same time, the package preserves the 90/10 split of federal highway aid to states.
  • Power and Grid: $65B - Includes the bipartisan, ENR-passed Energy Infrastructure Act, which includes funds for grid reliability and resiliency and support for a Grid Deployment Authority; critical minerals and supply chains for clean energy technology; key technologies like carbon capture, hydrogen, direct air capture, and energy efficiency; and energy demonstration projects from the bipartisan Energy Act of 2020.
  • Resiliency: $47.2B - Funding for cybersecurity to address critical infrastructure needs, waste management, flood and wildfire mitigation, drought, and coastal resiliency, ecosystem restoration, heat stress, and weatherization.
  • Passenger and Freight Rail: $66B - Provides funding for the Amtrak National Network for new service and dedicated funding to the Northeast Corridor, which has incurred a severe repair backlog after Hurricane Sandy. Increases funding for freight rail and safety.
  • Safety: $11B - Funds highway & pedestrian safety programs, as well as pipeline safety and repair.
  • Public Transit: $39.2B - Funds nation’s transit system repair backlog, which DOT estimates is more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, and thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems. Expands transit systems, supports clean transit options, and increases accessibility for seniors and persons with disabilities.
  • Airports: $25B - Increases funds for Airport Improvement grant program for runways, gates, & taxiways as well as a new Airport Terminal Improvement program for terminals, concessions, and multimodal connections. Improves Air Traffic Control infrastructure.
  • Water Infrastructure: $55B - Includes $23.4 billion for the bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021. Provides a historic $15 billion for lead service line replacement and $10 billion to address Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). Supports water infrastructure in Tribal communities by providing $3.5 billion ($1.8 billion under Water Infrastructure and $1.7 billion under Resiliency) for the Indian Health Service Sanitation Facilities Construction program, in addition to providing funding to complete all currently authorized Indian Water Rights Settlements.

Estimates on the West Virginia benefits can be found below or here.

  • Broadband: West Virginia will receive a minimum allocation of $600 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the at least 258,000 West Virginians who currently lack it. And, under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, 543,000 or 31% of people in West Virginia will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access
  • Roads and Bridges: Based on formula funding alone, West Virginia would expect to receive $3.0 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $506 million for bridge replacement and repairs over five years. West Virginia can also compete for the $12.5 billion Bridge Investment Program for economically significant bridges and nearly $16 billion of national funding in the bill dedicated for major projects that will deliver substantial economic benefits to communities.
  • Public Transportation: Based on formula funding alone, West Virginia would expect to receive $196 million over five years under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve public transportation options across the state.

Senator Manchin serves as Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which reported the Energy Infrastructure Act in July before it became Division D of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. West Virginia benefits from the Energy Infrastructure Act can be found below or here.

  • Funding for Energy Technologies and Demonstration Projects For Renewables, CCUS, Energy Storage and Efficiency, Industrial Emissions, Critical Minerals, Hydrogen, and Direct Air Capture. Of particular note for West Virginia are investments in:
  • Carbon Capture – The bill authorizes more than $12 billion for carbon capture technologies, including direct air capture and demonstration projects on coal, natural gas, and industrial plants and supporting CO2 infrastructure. It also funds work to advance use of coal, carbon, and CO2 for valuable products, including a demonstration in Appalachia.
  • Geothermal – The bill authorizes $84 million for enhanced geothermal demonstration, including in the eastern United States, like Appalachia.
  • Critical minerals – The bill fully funds a program that West Virginia University has championed to extract rare earth elements from coal and authorizes $140 million for a new facility to demonstrate the commercial-scale feasibility of rare earth elements refining and processing from waste material, like acid mine drainage, that West Virginia University has been leading.
  • Energy Efficiency and Weatherization  – West Virginia would be eligible for approximately $16 million from a new revolving loan fund for states to encourage energy efficiency upgrades and approximately $47 million in funding for weatherization based on the current formula.
  • Hydrogen – The bill authorizes $9.5 billion for hydrogen, including regional hydrogen hubs, of which two will be in the largest natural gas producing regions, including Appalachia. It makes NETL one of three lead laboratories for the new DOE hydrogen programs.
  • Hyperloop Eligibility For DOE Loan Program – This bill would allow the hyperloop technologies to be eligible for DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program and receive loans through future appropriations. 
  • Clean Energy Demonstrations On Mine Lands – The bill authorizes $500 million to demonstrate the viability of clean energy projects on current and former mine land. 
  • Plugging Orphan Wells And Reclaiming Abandoned Mine Lands
  • Orphan Wells –This bill authorizes $4.7 billion to plug, remediate, and reclaim orphaned wells via grants to the States and new federal programs. There are at least 4,646 documented orphan wells in West Virginia that will be able to be addressed under this program.
  • Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation – The bill authorizes $11.3 billion for the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Reclamation Fund. As of September 2020, there were at least 140,355 acres of unfunded AML problem areas in West Virginia, which would cost at least $1.78 billion. It also extends the collection of the AML Reclamation Fee for 13 years. This fee levied on coal provides funding for the AML program. 
  • Grid Resilience, Transmission, Cybersecurity
  • Resilience Upgrades – West Virginia utilities would be eligible for the $5 billion authorized to install resilience upgrades on their systems.
  • State Energy Programs – West Virginia will receive part of the $500 million authorized for State Energy Program activities, including transmission and distribution planning.
  • Clean Energy Supply Chains
  • Coal Country Energy Manufacturing – The bill authorizes $750 million in grants for small- and medium-sides manufacturers to build new or retrofit manufacturing and industrial facilities to produce or recycle energy products in communities where coal mines or coal plants have closed. This complements the 48C tax credit, which would provide a tax credit for similar activities in these areas.
  • US Geological Survey Mapping – The bill establishes the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (EarthMRI) for the USGS, in partnership with the state geologic survey, to focus on mapping critical minerals, especially abandoned mines and mine waste that may contain these critical minerals.  With the many mines sites in West Virginia, this will provide environmental and future economic benefits as efforts are accelerated to extract critical minerals from mine waste.
  • Natural Resources
  • In West Virginia, there are currently over 170,000 acres of un-reclaimed abandoned mine lands, and 1-in-3 West Virginians live within a 1-mile radius of an AML site.  The bill authorizes $200 million in funding for planting trees and other vegetation on mined land (on Federal and, upon request, on non-Federal land) to bring economic activity and wildlife back to these areas.
  • The bill also authorizes $8 million for efforts to supply firewood to people that heat their homes with wood in the winter if for some reason they cannot cut or afford to purchase the firewood they need to heat their home. This is comparable to the West Virginia food bank where people can go if they have fallen on hard times.  Similarly, this will help people if for some reason they are not able to cut and split the firewood they need to heat their home.
  • The West Virginia-Department of Natural Resources currently has three “good neighbor” projects ongoing on the Monongahela National Forest, where the State is overseeing timber harvesting work on the National Forest.  This has been identified as a priority in the West Virginia 2020 State Forest Action Plan, prepared by the West Virginia Division of Forestry, and the bill specifically authorizes $200 million for these types of projects.  
  • The West Virginia forest products industry has facilities across the State, but not as many as there used to be.  The bill authorizes $400 million to provide loans and loan guarantees to companies involved with the forest products industry (including to expand, re-open, or improve local sawmills).
  • Last December, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve became America’s newest National Park, and in the months following visitation has increased. Moreover, visitation has increased across all of the Federal recreation sites in West Virginia during the pandemic as the public looked for things to do in the outdoors. This bill authorizes $80 million for Federal recreation sites (like the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve) that have been experiencing or are expecting to experience increases in visitation.

Groups like Trout Unlimited have been working with the Forest Service to improve fish habitat, and ultimately make fishing better in streams in West Virginia. This bill authorizes $80 million for work like this in West Virginia and across the country.