THE INFRASTRUCTURE & JOBS ACT WILL DELIVER FOR THE UNITED STATED VIRGIN ISLANDS
-Improve healthy, sustainable transportation options for millions of Americans. America’s transit infrastructure is inadequate – with a multibillion-dollar repair backlog, representing more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, and thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems in need of replacement. This legislation represents the largest investment in public transit in history, and will make a long overdue investment in the Virgin Island’s public transportation. Based on formula funding alone, the Virgin Islands would expect to receive nearly $30 million over five years under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve public transportation options across the island.
President Biden and Vice President Harris support the Senate’s passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. The need for action in the Virgin Islands is clear and recently released state and territory data demonstrates that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will deliver for the Virgin Islands. For decades, infrastructure in the Virgin Islands has suffered from a systemic lack of investment. The historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make life better for hundreds of thousands of residents in the Virgin Islands, create a generation of good-paying union jobs and economic growth, and position the United States to win the 21st century. Specifically, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will:
-Repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. One in five miles, or 173,000 total miles, of our highways and major roads and 45,000 bridges across the United States are in poor condition. Bridges in poor condition pose heightened challenges in communities in the Virgin Islands, which often may rely on a single bridge for the passage of emergency service vehicles. Through the Territorial Highway Program, the Virgin Islands would expect to receive more than $95 million over five years to rebuild its roads and bridges. The Virgin Islands can also compete for $7.5 billion in funding over five years for major projects that will deliver substantial economic benefits to communities.
-Help connect every American to reliable high-speed internet. Broadband internet is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected. Yet as many as 35% of people in the Virgin Islands are not online. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Virgin Islands will receive a minimum allocation of $25 million to help improve broadband service and to promote broadband adoption and affordability. And, under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, thousands of people in the Virgin Islands will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level afford internet access.
-Prepare more of our infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyber attacks, and extreme weather events. From 2010 to 2020, the Virgin Islands has experienced several extreme weather events, costing the region tens of billions of dollars in damages. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act makes our communities safer and our infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change and cyber-attacks, with an investment of over $50 billion. Based on historical formula funding levels, the Virgin Islands will expect to receive $2.5 million to protect against cyberattacks. The Virgin Islands will also benefit from the bill’s historic $3.5 billion national investment in weatherization which will reduce energy costs for families.
-Deliver clean drinking water to every American and eliminate the nation’s lead service lines and pipes. Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, based on the traditional revolving fund formula, the Virgin Islands will expect to receive more than $37 million over five years to improve water infrastructure in the region and ensure that clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities.
-Improve our nation’s airports. The United States built modern aviation, but our airports lag far behind our competitors. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, airports in the Virgin Islands would receive approximately $30 million for infrastructure development over five years.
Over the coming days and weeks, we will expect to receive additional data on the impact of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the U.S. Virgin Islands.