(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) was able to include several Iowa properties in a massive federal investment package that could save crumbling roads and bridges in Iowa and throughout the United States. 

“My friends and neighbors in northeast Iowa sent me to Congress to fix our crumbling roads and bridges,” Finkenauer said in a release. “Thanks to input and great ideas from our community leaders, we’ve crafted a bipartisan package that provides a generational investment in our infrastructure and makes sure Iowa has a seat at the table.”

Recently introduced in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the INVEST in America Act would provide over $400 billion to the surface and rail transportation, as well as the Highway Trust Fund. 

The legislative additions from Finkenauer would make the following changes:

  • Make biofuels eligible for Community Climate Innovation grants. This $1 billion grant program, spread out over 4 years, allows local governments to pursue projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.
  • Improving broadband deployment by requiring that the Transportation Secretary consult with rural electric cooperatives, rural internet service providers, and state and local governments representing rural populations when developing broadband regulations.
  • Making sure rural school districts have access to funds to develop safe walking/ biking routes to school.
  • Protecting funding for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) Program to ensure rail improvements.
  • Changes to the federal Stormwater Management Best Practices to make sure the Transportation Secretary consults with the Agriculture Secretary when developing guidance and best practices for stormwater management for states and local governments.

The bill was approved by the committee on Thursday, and now heads to the House floor for further consideration.

“Fixing bridges and rural roads, strengthening Buy-America requirements and the many other provisions included in this package will speed our economic recovery and build a foundation for long-term economic growth,” Finkenauer said in a statement. 

The bill contains billions in new transportation investments, including:

  • An estimated $3.5 billion in federal highway funding over 5 years to rebuild Iowa’s roads and bridges
  • An estimated $337 million in federal funding to support Iowa transit systems infrastructure and operations over five years
  • Approximately $28 billion in funding for bridge repair and restoration
  • $83.1 billion to ensure states, cities, tribes, territories, and transit agencies can administer programs, advance projects, and preserve jobs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis
  • A new $6.25 billion program to fund resilience and flood response needs