Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale

Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale

Congress has now passed the infrastructure bill and set a course to advance the Build Back Better agenda this coming week. Both bills, taken together, invest in climate resiliency, job creation, transportation infrastructure, human capital and poverty alleviation.

As our federal delegation has outlined, the infrastructure bill contains many critical supports for the economic and environmental future of our state. Vermont will be receiving $2.2 billion through this legislation, one of the largest investments of federal money in state history.

The infrastructure package includes:

• $1.6 billion toward highway and bridge replacement and repairs over five years.

• $355 million to build water quality infrastructure over five years.

• $21 million to grow Vermont’s electric vehicle charging network over five years.

• $77 million to invest in public transportation over five years.

• At least $100 million to increase broadband access across the state.

In addition to these investments, we need to recognize infrastructure is also affordable health care, child care, and housing, as well as tax relief for working families. The Build Back Better agenda addresses these issues and, if passed, has the potential to transform the lives of thousands of Vermonters.

• 30,000 children would gain access to childcare.

• Pre-school for 3 and 4-year-olds would be free and universal.

• Families would be eligible for four weeks of paid family leave.

• Working families and low-wage workers would become eligible for child tax credits.

• Renters and folks looking to buy homes would have access to renter and down-payment assistance.

• An additional 4,000 Vermonters would become eligible for Medicaid.

• Vermont would take part in a national Civilian Climate Corps, creating good-paying, green jobs to tackle our climate crisis.

We are at a critical moment in history for the future of our climate, health care systems and global economy. We need bold solutions to tackle our multiple crises and those solutions will require decisive action and collaboration from leaders across the country.

We need the Build Back Better Act, and we need it to include the social supports, from paid family leave to increased Medicaid eligibility, that help working families. I hope you will join me in supporting our federal delegation as they fight to get it passed.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you and welcome your thoughts around how our needs can be met by support at the state and federal level at kramhinsdale@leg.state.vt.us or 802-881-4433.

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