The NH 175 bridge over the Pemigewasset River has for years been identified by the state as a “red list” bridge, meaning it was found to be structurally deficient after inspection. The White House says the New Hampshire Department of Transportation will use funds from the infrastructure law to “fully rehabilitate the historic structure” in Woodstock for about $4.5 million.
Biden will likely echo sentiments expressed at the signing ceremony at the White House, in which he argued this law — what he calls a “blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America” — shows Democrats and Republicans can come together to deliver results. Though the law isn’t as big and sweeping as the President had initially hoped it would be, it delivered on a key campaign promise of Biden’s and is something past presidents have attempted and failed to achieve.
The win comes at a critical time for Biden, who is facing some of the lowest approval ratings of his presidency. Rising consumer prices, inflation and shortages caused by the supply chain crisis are being felt by Americans across the country and are urgent concerns at the White House. Officials are hoping the law, which Biden and others in the administration are hitting the road to sell, will give the President a bump and whip up some much-needed momentum ahead of next year’s critical midterm elections.
The White House told reporters ahead of the visit that New Hampshire will receive $1.1 billion for federal-aid highways, $418 million to improve water infrastructure, $225 million for bridges, $125 million to improve public transportation and $17 million to expand electric vehicle charging.
Overall, the legislation will deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over five years, including money for roads, bridges, mass transit, rail, airports, ports and waterways. The package includes a $65 billion investment in improving the nation’s broadband infrastructure and invests tens of billions of dollars in improving the electric grid and water systems. Another $7.5 billion would go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers, according to the bill text.
The legislation is the first part of Biden’s two-part economic agenda. The bipartisan infrastructure package focuses on “hard” infrastructure like roads and bridges, and Democrats will now turn to the larger package that focuses on what the President calls “human” infrastructure, which includes investments for family care, to address the climate crisis and expand access to health care.
That second piece of legislation still faces an uncertain fate in Congress amid clashes between progressives and moderates.
Congress returned to Washington Monday after a week-long recess to a bevy of critical issues before the holidays, including passing Biden’s broader economic and climate agenda, funding the government before a December 3 deadline, and raising the debt limit.