Representative Peter Welch was in Winooski Wednesday to highlight sweeping infrastructure legislation expected to pass the US House of Representatives. The event was held near two Winooski projects that could benefit from the passage of the bill and included Winooski Mayor Kristine Lott, local developer Jacquie Dagesse and Vermont State Senator Dick Mazza.
The Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2) is a comprehensive, $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that addresses critical needs throughout Vermont by funding infrastructure projects to fix crumbling roads and bridges, rebuild rundown schools, provide more affordable housing, replace old waste and drinking water systems, and expand broadband, among other priorities. The bill would create thousands of jobs across the country and includes extensive environmental provisions to reduce emissions and create climate-resilient and sustainable infrastructure.
“The hallmark of a great nation is the recognition of the need to invest in its future,” said Welch. “This bill meets that test. It is a broad, comprehensive and forward thinking plan to invest in communities across Vermont. Infrastructure spending is more important than ever as we recover from economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. I have been working with stakeholders across Vermont to ensure their infrastructure needs are met for future generations. This bill includes transformative investment to improve our roads and bridges, connect every Vermonter to internet and make sure that our children are learning in modern schools with clean water. These investments will touch every community in Vermont and this plan should be taken up and passed in the Senate immediately.”
The bill also includes two energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives authored and championed by Welch:
- The Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act (H.R. 5650): A bipartisan bill to formally reauthorize the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and establish energy and water usage reduction goals for federal buildings.
- The HOPE for HOMES Act (H.R. 7325): A bipartisan bill to pair the HOMES Act rebate program with a grant program for online workforce training designed to prepare workers to conduct comprehensive home energy efficiency retrofits eligible for HOMES rebates.
The American Society of Civil Engineers’ “Infrastructure Report Card” last gave American infrastructure a D+ plus in 2017. Its 2019 state report gives Vermont a C, singling out Vermont’s stormwater and wastewater systems as items that need immediate attention and investment.