May 15, 2019

Luján, House Democrats Introduce Infrastructure Package to Combat Climate Change, Expand Broadband Access and Protect Public Health

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee, including U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), introduced a sweeping infrastructure package, the Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act, that will rebuild America by making investments to expand broadband access and protect public health and the environment.

Critically, the infrastructure package includes Congressman Luján’s Broadband Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act, which makes low-interest financing available to communities and public-private partnerships to expand broadband access in rural and underserved areas. In total, the broader infrastructure package includes more than $50 billion to support broadband deployment, including $5 billion for Congressman Luján’s broadband innovation act.

Studies have shown that one-in-four New Mexicans are underserved in broadband connectivity, which has far-reaching economic, safety, justice, and opportunity implications

Earlier this year, when House Democratic leaders went to the White House to negotiate an infrastructure package, Congressman Luján raised the story of Ashlynne Mike, an 11-year-old Navajo girl who was sexually assaulted and murdered in New Mexico, to highlight the critical need to invest in broadband and infrastructure. The search for Ashlynne was hampered because of poor connectivity and the lack of an ‘Amber Alert’ system in tribal territory.

“Far too many of my constituents have been left behind when it comes to broadband access – creating disparities that impact New Mexicans’ opportunities and safety. We must make massive investments to close this digital divide,” said Congressman Luján. “I am incredibly proud to support the LIFT Act to support broadband connectivity, combat climate change, protect our environment, and strengthen our public health infrastructure. There are few pieces of legislation that will have such a dramatic impact on Americans’ economic stability, safety, and quality of life.”

The LIFT America Act includes investments in several key areas, including:

Action to Combat the Climate Crisis and Protect Our Environment:

  • Over $33 billion for clean energy, including $4 billion to upgrade the U.S. electric grid to accommodate more renewable energy and make it more resilient. It also includes $4 billion for the expansion of renewable energy use, including $2.25 billion for the installation of solar panels in low-income and underserved communities. LIFT America also includes $23 billion for energy efficiency efforts – namely retrofitting and weatherizing buildings, including schools and homes, to ensure they produce fewer carbon emissions – and funding the nationwide deployment of more clean energy fuels.
  • $2.7 billion to spur the development of Smart Communities, including $850 million in technical assistance to help cities and counties integrate clean energy into their redevelopment efforts, and $1.4 billion to support the development of an electric vehicle (EV) charging network.
  • More than $21 billion to protect Americans’ drinking water, including $2.5 billion to establish a new grant program allowing PFAS-affected communities to filter the toxic chemicals out of their water supplies. LIFT America also expands upon the passage of the 2017 Safe Drinking Water Act by extending and increasing the authorization for the State Revolving Loan Fund, and other safe water programs.
  • $2.7 billion for Brownfields redevelopment to revitalize communities and create jobs by returning valuable land to productive use.

Expanding Access to Broadband Internet:

  • $40 billion for the deployment of secure and resilient high-speed broadband internet service to expand access for communities nationwide and bring broadband to 98 percent of the country.
  • $12 billion in grants for the implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1 services to make 9-1-1 service more accessible, effective, and resilient, and enable Americans to send text messages, images, or videos to 9-1-1 in times of emergency.
  • $5 billion in federal funding for low-interest financing of broadband infrastructure deployment through a new program that would allow eligible entities to apply for secured loans, lines of credit, or loan guarantees to finance broadband infrastructure build-out projects.

Investing in America’s Health Infrastructure:

  • $2 billion in funding to reauthorize the Hill-Burton hospital infrastructure program, including targeted assistance to support cybersecurity in the health system.
  • $1 billion for Indian Health Service infrastructure projects to reduce health disparities in Indian Country.
  • $100 million to support state labs on the frontlines of fighting infectious diseases.
  • $100 million to establish a community-based care infrastructure program and to develop teaching health centers and mental health care centers.
  • $3.5 billion to improve public health infrastructure at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and at state, local, tribal and territorial health departments.

A section-by-section of the bill is available HERE, and the text of the bill is available HERE.  

Press Contact

Lauren French (202) 225-6190