SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – President Biden has signed the $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act bill into law. How will this help Utah?
Billions of dollars are to be invested into Utah’s roads, bridges, water projects, and internet over the next few years.
John Gleason, the public relations director of the Utah Department of Transportation, said every year funding from the federal government makes up about 20% of UDOT’s budget.
“We usually put that toward preservation, rehabilitation projects,” he said. “Those projects that allow us to maintain and keep our roads in good shape.”
Now with the President’s infrastructure bill in law, Gleason said it provides UDOT with long-term funding to keep up on the roads.
“The benefit here for us is that it provides a consistent funding source, and it allows us to deliver the program that we need to maintain our roads and keep them in good shape and keep people safe and get them where they’re going,” he said.
‘Good roads cost less’ is a saying Gleason said UDOT crews keep in mind.
“If you can stay on top of the maintenance of your roads, you extend the life of those roads,” he said.
Gleason further explained why this funding is needed.
“This type of money is important because it allows us to stay on top of our preservation and rehabilitation projects to really address our roads and extend the life,” Gleason said.
The Utah Division of Drinking Water is also receiving funding from the federal government.
Director Tim Davis said everything people do depends on reliable and safe water.
“Turning on the tap, being able to flush the toilet, our economies are based on it, our families depend on it,” he said.
Davis said federal funding will help fix city water systems in need of repair as well as preparing for future growth.
“[Funding will] give communities across the state to make transformational investments in drinking water, clean water act infrastructure, replace aging infrastructure,” he said.
Davis said Salt Lake City has one of the oldest public water systems west of the Mississippi.
“And so, you have infrastructure like pipes that go back to the founding of Salt Lake City,” Davis said.
Even while some systems need to be updated, Davis said all water is regulated.
“We make sure that they do regular sampling, that they’re testing the water, and that they meet our drinking water standards,” he said. But that doesn’t mean in some cases they can’t do better. Especially where we’ve got children, we can bring down the levels of lead even further from the drinking water standard and bring them closer to zero.”
Water systems across the state have to make investments, Davis said.
“They use monthly rates to do that. There are systems that just don’t have the ratepayers to really upgrade and maintain their systems, so this will help those especially.”
Davis said this project will continue to better Utah’s infrastructure.
With the President just signing the bill Monday, Gleason and Davis said officials are still working out which projects need to be done to improve Utah’s infrastructure.