For those of us who live and use the roads and bridges here in Washington, it was welcome news to learn that over $5 billion of the $1.2 trillion federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden earlier this year has been designated specifically for them.
That’s just part of the total $8.6 billion designated to improve our state’s infrastructure. The term “infrastructure” used to be associated specifically with things like roads and bridges. Washington is set to receive approximately $4.7 billion for highways and another $605 million for bridges over the next five years.
However, “infrastructure” has been expanded to include things like public transit, charging stations for electric vehicles and even broadband, drinking water and salmon recovery. All of these things will receive money from the IIJA, as will our airports and ports.
A goal of improving Washinton’s grade of C on the Infrastructure Report Card
State and federal lawmakers from Washington have noted that the funds allocated toward infrastructure haven’t kept up with our growth. In the Infrastructure Report Card issued by the federal government earlier this year, Washington received a “C.” It was noted that the state has over 5,400 miles of highway and 416 bridges that are considered to be in poor condition.
Of course, none of this will happen overnight. As a University of Washington professor explains, “We’ll be seeing the effects roll out over a period of years. At the end of that time, we’ll look back and be able to see that this bill was big and transformational.”
In the meantime, if you’re injured in a crash that was caused in part by an unsafe road, bridge, intersection or something else that’s the responsibility of a locality or government entity, it may be wise to find out if you’re able to hold that entity responsible. Having experienced legal guidance is wise.