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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced his administration will distribute billions of dollars to repair or replace bridges around the nation as part of the progress it is making since he signed the infrastructure bill in November.
The Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration is handing out $27 billion in funding over the next five years to fix or rebuild thousands of bridges, with those funds focused on smaller bridges often located in rural communities, Biden said. Those deteriorating bridges are hurting small businesses and can mean longer response times for first responders, he added.
"We're sending the message to those communities and the people who call them home, you matter," Biden said. "We're building back and building back. Better with you, we're making sure you're not left behind, left out."
The administration will send out $5.5 billion of those funds in fiscal 2022 that will go to states, Puerto Rico, and tribal communities.
The president highlighted a previously announced plan to build a network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers. The Department of Transportation and Department of Energy are collaborating to carry out the effort.
The Environmental Protection Agency, meanwhile, will distribute $7.4 billion in funding to states to upgrade water pipes, sewage systems and other service lines, the White House said. The administration aims to replace all lead pipes in the U.S. over the next decade.
Biden also touched on the law’s benefits so that people can obtain high-speed internet. The Federal Communications Commission, for example, has launched a program that provides subsidies of up to $30 a month for low-income households to access broadband and $100 toward the purchase of a laptop, tablet or desktop computer.
“Whether you're in rural Kentucky or downtown Philadelphia, you should be able to turn on a faucet and drink clean water," Biden said. "Students should be able to get the internet if they needed to do their homework at home instead of having to drive to a fast food parking lot."
The White House added that the Biden administration is “following through on President Biden’s commitment to ensure investments advance equity and racial justice, reach communities all across the country — including rural communities, communities of color, and disability communities — and strengthen the nation’s resilience to climate change.”