W.Va. lawmakers approve using federal aid, spending on roads

The Biden White House pushed for its $2.3 trillion infrastructure package with the release of state-by-state breakdowns. West Virginia's infrastructure received a D grade, including analysis of roads, bridges, the power grid and housing affordability.

Here is the administration’s analysis specific to the Mountain State:

The Need for Action in West Virginia

For decades, infrastructure in West Virginia has suffered from a systemic lack of investment. The need for action is clear:

West Virginia’s infrastructure received a D grade on its Infrastructure Report Card. The American Jobs Plan will make a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure.

ROADS AND BRIDGES: In West Virginia there are 1,545 bridges and over 3,200 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 6.4 percent in West Virginia and on average, each driver pays $726 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nations' transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including $115 billion repairing roads and bridges.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: West Virginians who take public transportation spend an extra 76.7 percent of their time commuting and non-White households are 4.9 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 32% of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life. The American Jobs Plan will modernize public transit with an $85 billion investment.

RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE: From 2010 to 2020, West Virginia has experienced 11 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $2 billion in damages. The President is calling for $50 billion to improve the resiliency of our infrastructure and support communities’ recovery from disaster.

DRINKING WATER: Over the next 20 years, West Virginia’s drinking water infrastructure will require $1.4 billion in additional funding. The American Jobs Plan includes a $111 billion investment to ensure clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities.

HOUSING: In part due to a lack of available and affordable housing, 83,000 renters in West Virginia are rent burdened, meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. The President proposes investing over $200 billion to increase housing supply and address the affordable housing crisis.

BROADBAND: 24 percent of West Virginians live in areas where, by one definition, there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds. And 66.8 percent of West Virginians live in areas where there is only one such internet provider. Even where infrastructure is available, broadband may be too expensive to be within reach. Nineteen percent of West Virginia households do not have an internet subscription. The American Jobs Plan will invest $100 billion to bring universal, reliable, high-speed, and affordable coverage to every family in America.

CAREGIVING: Across the country, hundreds of thousands of older adults and people with disabilities are in need of home and community-based services. The President’s plan will invest $400 billion to help more people access care and improve the quality of caregiving jobs.

CHILD CARE: In West Virginia, there is an estimated $836 million gap in what schools need to do maintenance and make improvements and 64 percent of residents live in a childcare desert. The American Jobs Plan will modernize our nation’s schools and early learning facilities and build new ones in neighborhoods across West Virginia and the country.

MANUFACTURING: Manufacturers account for more than 10 percent of total output in West Virginia, employing 48,000 workers, or 6.5 percent of the state’s workforce. The American Job’s Plan will invest $300 billion to retool and revitalize American manufacturers, including providing incentives for manufacturers to invest in innovative energy projects in coal communities.

HOME ENERGY: In West Virginia, an average low-income family spends 10-12 percent of their income on home energy costs forcing tough choices between paying energy bills and buying food, medicine or other essentials. The American Jobs Plan will upgrade low-income homes to make them more energy efficient through a historic investment in the Weatherization Assistance Program, a new Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator to finance building improvements, and expanded tax credits to support home energy upgrades.

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS: West Virginia has outsized potential for innovative energy technologies including carbon capture and sequestration and geothermal energy generation, that create good paying union jobs. As of 2019, there were 10,078 West Virginians working in clean energy, and the American Jobs Plan invests in building that industry through a reformed and expended Section 45Q tax credit and extending renewable energy tax credits.

VETERANS HEALTH: West Virginia is home to over 140,000 veterans, 7.2 percent of who are women and 51 percent who are over the age of 65. The President is calling for $18 billion to improve the infrastructure of VA health care facilities to ensure the delivery of world-class, state-of-the-art care to veterans enrolled in the VA health care system. This includes improvements to ensure appropriate care for women and older veterans.

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