Utah senators split on moving infrastructure bill forward

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A massive 1.2 trillion-dollar infrastructure bill is moving forward.
A bipartisan effort got the bill off the ground and supporters say it will get America back on track.

The United States Senate voted to move the bill into a debate with a 67 – 32 vote.

Inside the bill is where you’ll find an extra $550 billion dollars of new money that will be spent over five years.

“I think it is good legislation with good policy, but I think it is also important for the country to see, you know, Washington can work,” says Senator Mitt Romney. “Republicans and Democrats can work together and come up with something that is bi-partisan.”

Utah’s Senator Mitt Romney helped construct the bill aimed to bring $3 billion for Utah’s roads and $219 million for Utah’s water revolving funds.

“There is funding, some $220 million goes to get running water to the 40 percent of Navajo Nation residents in Utah that don’t have running water,” says Sen. Romney.

In total, there will be $39 billion in grants states can use for public transportation and bridge-building.

“Utah is able to apply for its fair share or more of that funding if we have projects that we would like to add,” says the Senator. “So if we have overpasses in Utah that are structurally deficient, and I know we do, we will be able to apply and potentially receive funding for those.”

Plus, there will be another $66 billion in grants for broadband expansion for rural communities.

Sen. Romney adds, “All of these things are worked out state by state.”

When asked how this will all get paid for, Sen. Romney tells ABC4’s Jason Nguyen, “the largest single source of funding, almost $200 billion is by taking money that had been previously allocated to prior projects that have not been spent.”

One way senators plan to make up the money is using the $300 Unemployment Insurance Supplemental Payments.

“A number of states including ours decided not to keep spending that money, so that means we have some money left over, we take that,” he says.

The senator says another way to pay for the bill is to use customs fees on people bringing in hazardous substances.

While Senator Romney voted for the bill, Senator Mike Lee voted against it.

“What our state needs is for the federal government to get out of the way and let Utahns do what we do best – work hard and care for our families,” says Sen. Lee.

Those who voted in favor of the bill believe this is the jolt needed to get the economy rolling.

“We do expect additional economic activity. The congressional economic activity. The congressional budget office said, you know, when you debottleneck the nation, when you build new highways, improve bridges, improve transit, you’re going to get more economic activity, that means more tax revenue coming in,” says Sen. Romney. “All of these programs are paid for without raising taxes, and without adding to the deficit or the debt.”

But, there’s another bill coming up worth $3.5 trillion budget bill.

“By the way, you know what that is, it’s childcare, it’s two years of pre Kindergarten for every American child, it’s free community college for every American, I mean it is a very expensive piece of legislation,” he adds.

It’s legislation Sen. Romney says has no Republican support.

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