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Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh discusses bipartisan infrastructure bill

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 4:45 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to consider a bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed in the Senate on August 10, the Biden administration is emphasizing its potential impacts across the nation.

Both Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan from Alaska voted in favor of the bill.

According to U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, “The bipartisan infrastructure bill is going to be a big win for Alaska and a big win for the United States.”

Secretary Walsh sees the bipartisan bill as a good beginning to making much-needed investments in infrastructure, “whether it’s in roads and bridges, community rail, expansion in public transportation, clean drinking water, [and] broadband access.”

According to Walsh, if passed, the bill would create job opportunities. “The first thing you look at is, obviously, construction jobs. I think that those are ones that you see. Engineering jobs as well. We’ll need engineers to be able to create and plan these projects as they move forward. Then you’ll have opportunities within cities and towns to attract industry and those industries could be anything.”

He says cities, towns and states deserve to have the federal government as a partner in investment.

Walsh broke down the changes that Americans would see if the bill passes, saying, “If you’re a person that drives on the road or a bridge that is dangerous, you’ll see that bridge replaced. If you’re a person that doesn’t have connectivity right now with the internet, you’re sitting at home and you’re like ‘Okay, I can’t... my service is spotty or I don’t have any,’ you’ll have better connectivity to information. If you’re somebody that deeply cares about the environment and you’re thinking about the future of our country, electric charging stations. If you’re drinking water out of a pipe that is lined with lead, this is an opportunity to make sure we eliminate those.”

Walsh emphasized that the bill is an investment. “I think when taxpayers are paying their taxes and they think about their future, they want to make sure their money is spent wisely, because the money they have, they spend it wisely, and that’s what the government is doing right now, is spending the money wisely.”

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, and Walsh said, “Hopefully, we’ll be able to get this bill agreed upon in a fairly quick manner.”

According to a release from the White House, if the bill passes, Alaska could expect to receive more than three billion dollars for various projects.

These include highways, bridge replacement and repairs, electric vehicle chargers, public transportation, and high-speed internet.

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