With lawmakers including Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch in support of a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the nation could soon see the Senate’s political gridlock ease and work get underway on crumbling roads and bridges, distressed water systems and rickety transportation systems.
Support from tightwads Crapo and Risch is a good sign for a bill whose projects were carved out of a larger proposal with a nearly $4 trillion price tag.
Idaho will benefit from many of the projects in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Without tax increases for anyone, the bill would also expand broadband internet and make it accessible for more Americans. This is essential if the nation is to catch up with other developed nations where better access translates into nimbler businesses, better-educated citizens and responsive public services.
The bill would begin to fund installation of electric-vehicle charging stations that are key to phasing out gas-powered vehicles and rolling back climate change.
Whether the bill will survive a vote in the House is uncertain. Some Democrats are unhappy that it doesn’t make higher education affordable or contain bolder climate and childcare initiatives.
These items and others are now in a separate $3.5 trillion bill.
Progressive-wing Democrats are mumbling about holding the smaller bill hostage until Congress approves the larger bill. That would be a mistake.
Idaho’s bridges are already in danger of buckling under the weight of decades of neglect. Time isn’t on any state’s side.
Congress should pass the smaller bi-partisan bill then get to work on the rest.
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