Issue Report
For Immediate Release: 
December 6, 2021
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act delivers for the American people by making equitable investments which address long-ignored disparities that harm our economy by preventing underserved communities from reaching their full economic potential and negatively impacting the health and economic opportunities of those communities’ residents.

Modernizing and repairing our nation’s infrastructure with a focus on historically underserved communities will expand access to economic opportunities for working Americans and unlock our nation’s full economic potential.

Expanding Access to Broadband: An estimated 42 million Americans currently lack reliable access to at-home broadband, with a disproportionate representation in rural and Tribal communities. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would expand broadband access to nearly every American to expand economic and educational opportunities by connecting underserved communities to the Internet.
  • The infrastructure law contains the Digital Equity Act, which will end digital redlining that holds underserved communities back from equal access to the Internet and create a permanent program to help low-income households access the Internet. The Digital Equity Act will also provide resources for digital literacy and skills training with a focus on both low-income populations and Americans with disabilities.
Expanding Access to Clean Drinking Water: Currently, over 10 million households lack safe drinking water. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act invests $55 billion dollars into ensuring Americans have access to clean drinking water.
  • The infrastructure law will replace lead pipes in communities across the country, which are linked to a litany of public health problems and can lead to lifelong health effects. Over 500,000 children are estimated to have elevated lead levels in their blood. By replacing these pipes, the Biden Administration will decrease rates of lead exposure among America’s children.
Addressing Legacy Pollution: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act cleans legacy pollution in communities across the country with a particular focus on communities of color, Indigenous communities, and low-income communities. These communities often have higher rates of cancer, greater likelihoods of birth defects, and other health impacts.
  • Through the Department of the Interior, the infrastructure law will clean up legacy pollution by plugging dangerous orphan wells and abandoned mine shafts, which will prevent adverse health risks from contaminated groundwater and toxic fumes.
  • The infrastructure law also funds numerous cleanup sites in the Superfund program, which cleans the most polluted former industrial sites across the country. According to the EPA, roughly 21 million people live within 1 mile of a Superfund site, with a disproportionate amount of communities of color and vulnerable communities exposed to the negative health and environmental effects they can cause.
Building Rural Roads and Bridges: The infrastructure law will modernize roads and bridges, representing the single largest investment in repairing surface transportation across the country, with a focus on low-income and rural areas.
  • The law includes specific funding for the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program, which provides funding to state and local governments to improve and expand rural surface transportation infrastructure, which will connect rural communities and promote economic opportunity for working Americans.
Reconnecting Communities of Color: The Department of Transportation estimates more than one million Americans were displaced during the construction of America’s federal highway system, which divided neighborhoods, disrupted pedestrian flow, and worsened air quality in predominantly communities of color.
  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act creates the first-ever program to reconnect communities historically divided by highway infrastructure, which disproportionately affects communities of color. This program will allow for the reconstruction of street grids to reconnect these communities and seek to address racial and economic discrimination that led to their severing.  
Expanding Reliable Public Transit: Public transit has historically underserved communities of color and low-income communities, which has led to longer commute times for those communities.
  • The infrastructure law will reduce commute times and bring transit service to new communities, creating economic opportunity by connecting communities of color to the larger public transit infrastructure.
  • Thousands of transit vehicles, including buses, will be replaced by zero-emission vehicles, reducing the number of commuters exposed to polluted air during their rides to and from work.
Making Our Communities More Resilient to Climate Change: People of color are disproportionately affected by climate change, which has already caused economic harm across the country as communities face the health and infrastructure impacts of extreme weather events such as drought, heat, and floods.
  • The infrastructure law funds resilience initiatives that will upgrade critical infrastructure to ensure that state and local governments can meet the needs of their communities in extreme weather events.
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