WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The White House on Friday said it has released $185 billion in funding from the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that seeks to fix crumbling roads, expand broadband internet, replace lead pipes and improve the electrical grid.
White House Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu said the administration had already identified 6,200 projects for funding and hired more than 3,000 new federal workers to oversee the massive five-year infrastructure spending law signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021.
“There’s a lot of pressure to go fast and to do more,” Landrieu told reporters, saying the administration had gotten about one-fifth of the funds in the first year “out the door… I think our pace is pretty good.”
The department plans to soon award MEGA, RURAL and Bridge investment large grants after previously announcing $3.7 billion for various projects.
Landrieu said the administration was focused on ensuring the money was properly spent. Biden is “building for the future… because he is intent on changing America and helping build a better America.”
Last week, the U.S. Transportation Department (USDOT) awarded $703 million for 41 port infrastructure projects. In September, it awarded $104.7 million to help fund turning a Detroit interstate highway whose construction devastated two historically Black neighborhoods into an urban boulevard.
The infrastructure law includes $110 billion for roads, bridges and major projects; $65 billion to expand high-speed broadband internet access and affordability; $66 billion for rail; $55 billion for water infrastructure; $25 billion for airports; $39.2 billion in new transit spending; and $5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations.
“We’re just a year in so nobody should have reasonably expected that within a year we were going to spend more money than has ever been spent in the history of the country — and if we did would have wasted 90% of it,” Landrieu said. “We’ll let the results speak for itself.”
The law funds 375 programs at more than a dozen federal agencies, including more than 125 new programs.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by David Gregorio)