Connecting state and local government leaders
The White House announced that a former mayor will help lead an implementation task force for the measure.
President Biden on Monday signed a roughly $1.2 trillion infrastructure package into law. The legislation was a top priority for state and local leaders and sets the stage for years of boosted spending on roads, transit, water systems, broadband and other public works.
The focus will now turn to implementing the programs in the law, which includes about $550 billion in new spending. State and local governments will have a key role in that process as billions of dollars will flow their direction under funding formulas, or through competitive grant initiatives.
“Today, we’re finally getting this done," Biden said during a signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.
"This law is a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America," he added.
The White House also announced that Biden would sign an executive order forming a task force to oversee the law's rollout and said it would be co-chaired by Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who will serve as White House infrastructure implementation coordinator.
Mayors, governors and other state and local elected leaders were among the roughly 800 attendees who gathered at the signing ceremony, according to the White House. Mayor Acquanetta Warren of Fontana, California, a city of about 215,000, was one of the officials who delivered remarks during the event.
"This bill," Warren said, "is designed to help all of us—big, small and in-between."
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle who helped shepherd the bill through Congress were also on hand. "This is what can happen when Republicans and Democrats decide we're going to work together to get something done," said Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican.
Biden called out mayors, governors and county leaders during the event for the support they lent in the effort to get the legislation passed. "Red states, blue states, you all contacted me, you all said you were for this, you all stepped up," the president said, as he recognized the governors in attendance.
Kathy Manness a councilmember in Lexington, South Carolina and the National League of Cities president, described the bill as "a turning point for our nation’s infrastructure."
"We look forward to working with former Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who understands the local perspective, to help communities make the most of this opportunity,” Manness added.
Of the new, or above baseline, funding in the bill, about $284 billion will go to transportation programs, with about $110 billion of that amount slated for roads and bridges. There's $39 billion for transit and $66 billion for rail. The law also includes $65 billion for expanding and improving broadband networks and $55 billion for waterworks.
Bill Lucia is a senior editor for Route Fifty and is based in Olympia, Washington.