Democrats Tout Biden’s Big Infrastructure Implementation

President Joe Biden at the Hudson Tunnel project
President Joe Biden delivers remarks during the Hudson Tunnel project event at the West Side Rail Yard in New York on Jan. 31. (Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg News)

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The leader of the U.S. Senate is among senior Democrats praising the Biden White House’s management of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure law amid renewed calls for oversight from congressional Republicans.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) congratulated the administration’s role in implementing 2021’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act shortly after President Joe Biden visited large projects in Baltimore and New York City.

“The implementation of the bills we passed last year is really vital to this country and to keeping our prosperity going and increasing,” Schumer, the chamber’s majority leader, said Feb. 1. He pointed to the IIJA, as well as legislation related to climate change and freight supply chains. Biden had traveled to New York on Jan. 31 to mark a funding boost for an elaborate rail tunnel project between the city and New Jersey. The project is referred to as “Gateway.”

“So, there were a lot of smiles at yesterday’s celebration. Many of us waited for years for this moment. And after a lot of persistence, we can finally say Gateway is going to be built,’ ” Schumer added. “Gateway is just one of the major infrastructure initiatives supported by the bipartisan infrastructure law.

Sen. Chuck Schumer


"Just like the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, it is beginning to pay real dividends in the form of new jobs, new investments and prosperity, and we’re going to see much more of it this year and in the years to come.”

“This stretch of track is truly the economic lifeblood of our country, a region that contributes more than $3 trillion to our national [gross domestic product] every year,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), referring to the Gateway project. “But beyond completing this project, it’s about communities who will enjoy cleaner air and safer, more reliable service and about commuters who will spend more time at home and less time waiting for a delayed train.”

Projects like [Gateway] are exactly why I fought to help write and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.)

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.)

Said Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.): “Projects like this are exactly why I fought to help write and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and claw back critically needed federal investments back from Washington to Jersey. The bipartisan infrastructure bill will invest in New Jersey’s ports, roads, rails and bridges, help build the Gateway tunnel, address supply chain issues, create millions of jobs and boost our local economy.”

On Jan. 31, the Department of Transportation announced nearly $300 million to pave the way for Gateway. The grant was authorized as part of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law.

“Some infrastructure projects are so large and complex that they defy traditional funding systems — and so significant that they become iconic parts of the American landscape,” as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg put it.

At the rail yard in New York City, Biden listed potential benefits associated with big-ticket infrastructure projects.

“That’s what this project and others like it across the country are all about: making investments in America’s cities and towns, in America’s heartlands, and the rural areas as well,” he said. “It’s about making things here in America again. It’s about good jobs. It’s about the dignity of work.”

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Congressional Republican leaders, meanwhile, have expressed interest in increasing oversight of the administration. Specific to the implementation of the IIJA, GOP leaders intend to examine policies about climate change, alternative energy and transportation equity.

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said Jan. 31, “We will be returning this committee to its core mission: to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not being mismanaged, abused or wasted, to shine a light in the darkness of the federal bureaucracy to prevent corruption and self-dealing, and to make sure our federal government is working efficiently for the American people.”

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