President Joe Biden told a meeting of U.S. governors Monday that he wants them to ramp up their building plans for infrastructure – and gave them a 461-page book to help their communities get a share of the roughly $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending package signed into law in November.
“You know how to build roads and bridges,” Biden told the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. “Well, we got a hell of a lot to build.”
White House adviser Mitch Landrieu, the former mayor of New Orleans who is overseeing infrastructure spending, said the hefty guidebook provides “an absolute road map” for how communities can qualify for funding.
“The infrastructure law allocated funding to over 350 distinct programs across more than a dozen federal departments and agencies,” the book says. “This guidebook is another step in our effort to be as transparent as possible, so you know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild. After all, most of the building will actually be done by state, Tribal, and local government partners.”
A broad focus: The infrastructure package, which passed with bipartisan support and includes about $550 billion for new investments over a five-year period, provides funding for a wider range of projects than is typical. Of the roughly 350 specific program areas included in the bill, 125 are new, and include projects that go well beyond the usual road construction and bridge repair, such as bringing high-speed internet to U.S. households, replacing lead pipes in local water systems throughout the country and upgrading the national power grid.
About 60% of the money in the spending package will be made available according to formulas used by various federal agencies, the Associated Press reports, while the rest will be rewarded through competitive applications.
The White House on Monday unveiled one specific program that is already benefiting from the infrastructure package: the U.S. will spend $1.15 billion to clean up thousands of abandoned gas and oil wells that leak methane gas, which contribute to global warming. The money is the first tranche of $4.7 billion provided by Congress for the cleanup of orphaned wells.