Syracuse, NY— U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) penned the following op-ed published today on Syracuse.com highlighting wins for Central New York contained in the bipartisan physical infrastructure bill that passed with his support in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Syracuse.com / The Post-Standard
By Rep. John Katko (NY-24)
When I first ran for public office, I made a commitment to the people of Central New York that I would take every opportunity to create economic opportunity and make our community a stronger place for generations to come.
Prioritizing investment in infrastructure was a key piece of that promise. The dire state of our infrastructure locally is abundantly clear to Central New York families and businesses who regularly travel on our deteriorating roads, have worried about the quality of their drinking water, or suffered from unreliable internet access. And without stable funding, our local governments cannot plan for long-term infrastructure investments or repairs.
When I arrived in Washington, I actively sought a position on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Since then, I’ve taken every opportunity to champion infrastructure in the House, including vocally supporting the previous Administration’s $1 trillion proposal to invest in infrastructure.
Over the past four years, I served as Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus Infrastructure Working Group and successfully developed a consensus-driven proposal that served as the basis for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In August, the Senate passed this measure with support from 19 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. And last week, this measure passed the House with my support.
Let me be clear: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act makes meaningful and long overdue investments in Central New York’s infrastructure and is a win for our entire community. It focuses exclusively on physical infrastructure: our roads and bridges, water systems, ports and waterways, broadband networks and electrical grid, and airports. And the investments it makes are fully paid for and will generate long-term economic growth.
Notably for our community, the bill makes a $24 billion investment to repair and replace roads and bridges in New York State over the next five years. It will help make over $27 million in upgrades to Syracuse Hancock International Airport, provide an estimated $74 million investment for CENTRO, and deliver $8 billion in federal grants that could support Bus Rapid Transit in Syracuse.
The bill combats the digital divide in underserved communities by providing federal funding to expand broadband and internet connectivity. It delivers historic investments for clean drinking water systems and shores up the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help advance pending projects across Lake Ontario.
The passage of this bill represents a historic leap forward for investments in our nation’s physical infrastructure.
However, importantly, in order to earn my vote as our country faces inflationary concerns and a mounting national debt, this bill had to include provisions to offset its spending. I voted ‘yes’ because it met these fiscal benchmarks. The bill includes a wide range of responsible pay-fors, including the repurposing of unused COVID-19 aid. Additionally, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the bill will have a 33% return on investment because of the economic benefits of long-term infrastructure projects. Experts from the American Enterprise Institute also argued that spending under this legislation would not contribute to inflation because the spending will be spread out over a decade and focus on improving long-term productivity.
While I supported this measure, I have deep concerns with the current agenda proposed by Democrats in Washington. House Democrats’ multi-trillion dollar Build Back Better Act, which I vehemently oppose, will raise taxes, implement Green New Deal policies, make our economy less competitive, and exacerbate the skyrocketing inflation that is already hurting Central New York families.
With the passage of the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, I’m proud to have kept my promise to Central New Yorkers, and now, will continue working to stand against the House Democrats’ reckless spending bill.