The fix is in: Rep. Wild celebrates two-year anniversary of infrastructure law funding that benefits Greater Lehigh Valley
- U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-Lehigh Valley, on Wednesday held a webinar to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
- Part of the $1.2 trillion federal funding will help repair crumbling infrastructure and other projects in the Greater Lehigh Valley
- Becky A. Bradley, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, noted the benefits of the funding for the region
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-Lehigh Valley, focused on the significance of numbers as she celebrated the two-year anniversary of the signing of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law during a webinar Wednesday.
The first numbers are Nov. 15, 2021, when the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, (IIJA) commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, (BIL) was signed into law by President Biden.
The second number is $395.73 million that's been awarded to the Greater Lehigh Valley to address the region’s crumbling infrastructure, improve transportation systems and air quality and invest in creating desperately needed affordable, high-speed internet.
The other numbers: 117 and 118.
“I’m grateful we got this done in the 117th Congress, not the 118th,” Wild said. “I’m happy we were able to get this done on a bipartisan basis back then. I don’t think it would fare well in this Congress.
“I’m glad we’re at the two-year point and how much it has helped the Greater Lehigh Valley already. I was proud to help deliver this historic infrastructure investment that not only strengthens the Greater Lehigh Valley’s economy, but also improves the health and safety of our community.
“I’m also glad infrastructure is not a joke in Congress or a punch line anymore.”
“I’m glad we’re at the two-year point and how much it has helped the Greater Lehigh Valley already."U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-Lehigh Valley
In October, Wild announced more than $2.2 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for Pennsylvania.
The investments will fund repairs to roads and bridges in the commonwealth and invest in an electric vehicle charging network.
The resources the state will get from the U.S. Transportation Department for Fiscal Year 2024 include:
- $1.9 billion for road replacements and improvements.
- $353 million to repair and rebuild bridges.
- $36.5 million to build electric vehicle chargers.
Based on formula funding alone, Pennsylvania is expected to get $13.2 billion over five years in federal funding or highest and bridges.
'None of this would be possible'
Becky A. Bradley, executive director of Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, also was on the webinar and also celebrated the influx of funding from the infrastructure law.
“In a few years we’ll be able to make a marked difference in the quality and functionality of our infrastructure system,” she said.
Bradley outlined some of the improvement projects throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley made possible in part by the infrastructure law funding.
“Just this morning, the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study adopted a new long-range transportation plan, and that looks out 25 years in how we can invest in everything from our road and bridge network, to walking, biking, and the transit system,” said Bradley in a release later Wednesday.
“None of that would be possible without the IIJA. The IIJA took our investment into the region…up from $2.4 billion to $4.388 billion. That’s the power of the IIJA."Lehigh Valley Planning Commission Executive Director Becky Bradley
“None of that would be possible without the IIJA. The IIJA took our investment into the region…up from $2.4 billion to $4.388 billion. That’s the power of the IIJA.
“None of this would be possible without the IIJA which has contributed $2.4 million. This funding allows us to invest $1.2 billion in the transit system and in the bus transit system our friends at LANTA [Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority] are doing.”
'The sky's the limit'
More than $100 million is ticketed for projects to improve transit and air quality, and an additional $46 million to reduce carbon emissions in the Greater Lehigh Valley, Bradley said.
Bigger projects being made possible by the federal funding include:
- More than $70 million each for improvements of the Route 309 interchange and Route 33.
- More than $69 million to repair the Hill to Hill Bridge that connects Lehigh and Northampton counties.
The impact of the federal funding already has been realized, Bradley said, with the replacement of the 90-year-old Cementon Bridge that connects Lehigh and Northampton counties over the Lehigh River.
BIL funding shouldered $22.5 million of the total $32.3 million cost.
The bridge, which has been in disrepair for years, carries 15,000 vehicles daily.
“The sky’s the limit because of this law. It opened resources at a critical time in the Lehigh Valley’s growth, what with all our population and job growth.Lehigh Valley Planning Commission Executive Director Becky Bradley
Bradley also noted smaller projects in the Greater Lehigh Valley being funded by the federal funding, such as repairs to smaller bridges and traffic signals.
“The sky’s the limit because of this law,” Bradley said. “It opened resources at a critical time in the Lehigh Valley’s growth, what with all our population and job growth.
"Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to invest in an infrastructure system. But with the IIJA, we can plan for a good infrastructure system for the future.”
A list of projects
Among other projects made possible by the BIL funding was the TSA checkpoint and terminal connector at the Lehigh Valley International Airport that opened in August.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law put $5 million toward this $38 million project,” Colin Riccobon, the airport's director of government and public relations, said on the webinar.
“A regional airport wouldn’t have been able to shoulder all that. This was a critical project for the airport authority. It will forever change the people traveling through the airport.”
Per a release Wild sent after the webinar:
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Project Highlights Across PA-07
- $22.5 million investment in fixing the Cementon Bridge, which at 90 years old and one of the 47 bridges in Lehigh County designated as being in poor condition by the Federal Highway Administration, has long needed improvement.
- $5 million investment for the Lehigh Valley International Airport, to install a new 4-lane TSA checkpoint and expand airport capacity—the first project to be funded, constructed, and completed thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
- $4.05 million total investment in repairs and rehabilitation for Beltzville Lake in Carbon County, to allow for safety repairs and maintenance work.
- $3.75 million investment in the Mid-Atlantic Center of Excellence at Lehigh University, which will expand the Industrial Research and Assessment Center network’s engagement with unions, trade schools, and community colleges, and develop new assessment methodologies to better serve small manufacturers.
- $2.78 million to support the replacement of the Indian Trail Road Bridge over Hokendaqua Creek in Allen Township to replace the aging bridge.
- $824,504 investment in repairing the Old Carriage Road Bridge in East Allen Township.
- $626,300 investment in repairing the stream back along Bushkill Creek in Bushkill Township, to shore up public access points and slow flooding.
- $386,128 total investment in PA 443 Roadway Improvements and PA 443 congestion mitigation and air quality improvements.