June 23, 2020

Luján Secures Major Broadband and Environmental Investments for New Mexico in Infrastructure Package

Nambé, N.M.  This week, House Democrats released the Moving Forward Act to rebuild and modernize America’s infrastructure and create new, good-paying jobs for Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislative package includes key initiatives championed by Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the U.S. House Assistant Speaker, to bolster broadband access for rural and Tribal communities and clean up orphaned oil and gas wells in New Mexico.

“The Moving Forward Act is an important step to create new, good-paying jobs for New Mexicans who have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a member of House Democratic Leadership, I’m proud to have secured several broadband initiatives that will help bridge the digital divide and address the disparities that rural and Tribal communities face. Ensuring that New Mexicans can access up-to-date public health and education resources during this pandemic is crucial,” said Luján. “I’m also glad this package addresses the critical need to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells across New Mexico, which will help put New Mexicans back to work and protect our environment.”  

The more than $1.5 trillion package invests $100 billion in broadband and includes Congressman Luján’s broadband legislation, the Broadband Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, to spur deployment of high-speed internet across the country through low-cost financing for communities. It also includes legislation he introduced to connect school buses to Wi-Fi to address the homework gap that rural and Tribal students face and initiatives he's championed to establish grant programs to promote digital equity. Less than half of rural New Mexicans have access to fixed, high-speed broadband, which is crucial for public health, safety, and education during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the midst of a global climate crisis, the Moving Forward Act invests more than $70 billion to promote clean energy and modernize America’s clean energy infrastructure. Congressman Luján’s legislation to increase energy storage capabilities and expand the use of clean energy was included in the legislative package. It invests nearly $500 billion to rebuild the nation’s transportation infrastructure, putting America on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector while improving safety for drivers and passengers. 

The legislative package also includes $2 billion to protect the environment and create new, good-paying jobs through cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells. Congressman Luján alongside Senator Martin Heinrich and Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small recently called for measures to address abandoned oil and gas wells in future economic recovery packages. Luján also participated in a House Natural Resources Committee forum where he discussed how these efforts would safeguard communities from air pollution and create new economic opportunities. Additionally, Congressman Luján was able to secure a provision that makes acequia and land grant communities explicitly eligible for Wildlife Movement Grants.  

The Moving Forward Act includes other priorities championed by Congressman Luján. The legislative package spurs innovation by creating a pilot program at our National Laboratories to provide technical assistance to support the development of smart communities, and by establishing a $100 million smart cities and communities demonstration program at the Department of Commerce. It provides $5 billion in total for the construction, modernization, and renovation of hospitals and outpatient health care facilities within the Indian Health Service (IHS), which has been at been on the front line of combatting the COVID-19 pandemic in the hard-hit Navajo Nation. The Moving Forward Act also invests $100 billion dollars in affordable housing to create new jobs and provide stability for Americans facing housing insecurity. 

A fact sheet is available here.  

Press Contact

Adán Serna (202) 225-6190