Continuing the progress implementing the Biden-Harris Administration’s economic agenda, President Biden visited New York on January 31 to announce funding for a critical early phase of the Hudson Tunnel Project and Mega grants for other major infrastructure projects across the country. The President announced the Administration has awarded nearly $1.2 billion from the infrastructure law’s new National Infrastructure Project Assistance discretionary grant program (Mega) for nine projects across the country, including over $292 million to complete a critical early phase of the Hudson Tunnel Project.
These infrastructure investments will create good-paying jobs – including union jobs and jobs that do not require a college degree. The projects will grow the economy, strengthen supply chains, improve mobility for residents, and make our transportation systems safer for all users.
This announcement comes on the heels of several other announcements of funding for major infrastructure projects, including more than $2 billion to upgrade some our nation’s most economically significant bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Brent-Spence Bridge through the Bridge Investment Program and $1.5 billion for 26 major projects through the INFRA program.
These infrastructure improvements are a critical part of President Biden’s economic agenda to build the economy from the bottom up and middle out.
Hudson Tunnel Project
President Biden announced a $292 million Mega grant to Amtrak for Hudson Yards Concrete Casing, Section 3. This funding is part of a $649 million early phase project that will complete the final section of concrete casing intended to preserve future right-of-way for the new passenger rail tunnel under the Hudson River. The concrete casing protects the path of the new tunnel from Penn Station to the Hudson River’s edge. If this casing were not built now, the foundations from the new Hudson Yards development would likely impede the path of the tunnel and make the project extremely difficult.
The overall Hudson Tunnel Project is an over $16 billion investment that will improve resilience, reliability, and redundancy for New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) and Amtrak train service between New York and New Jersey. The project will reduce commute times for NJ Transit riders, enhance Amtrak reliability on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), and support the northeast regional economy. Amtrak expects the Hudson Tunnel Project will result in 72,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction with union partnerships for job training.
The existing North River Tunnel is over 100 years old, built to early 20th century standards, opened for service in 1910, and is the only passenger rail tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey. It facilitates more than 200,000 passenger trips per weekday on more than 450 Amtrak and NJ Transit trains servicing New York Penn Station. The tunnel has reached its full capacity of 24 trains per hour, causing bottlenecks and delays. The tunnel has two tubes with one track each. When one goes out of service for any reason, trains have to wait to go through the working tube. This creates headaches for NJ Transit commuters and Amtrak travelers and delays that cascade up and down the Northeast Corridor. In 2020, passengers experienced 12,653 minutes of delay due to problems caused by aging tunnel infrastructure. Delays occurred on 54 different days in 2020 and were attributed to a variety of causes involving the electrical power, signal and track systems.
In 2012, millions of gallons of salt water flooded into the tunnel during Superstorm Sandy. Even today, the remnants of seawater that entered the tunnel in 2012 continue to harm the concrete, steel, tracks and third rail, signaling, and electrical components within the tunnel. Today the tunnel requires regular, and occasional emergency, maintenance that disrupts service for hundreds of thousands of riders throughout the region. Rehabilitation of the tunnel would require a full closure, which will only be possible if a second tunnel existed.
To address those challenges, the Hudson Tunnel Project will rehabilitate the old North River Tunnel; build a new tunnel beneath the Palisades, the Hudson River, and the waterfront area in Manhattan; construct new surface alignment from Secaucus to the new tunnel portal in North Bergen; construct ventilation shafts and fan plants in New Jersey and New York; and make track modifications near Penn Station. When the project is done, the redundant capacity provided by a second tunnel will mean fewer delays and less risk for catastrophic disruption.
The project is part of the larger Gateway Program which envisions expanding and rebuilding the rail line between Newark, New Jersey and New York City through a number of projects, including the new Portal North Bridge, which broke ground last year and is supported by $900 million in federal funding.
Today’s Mega grant announcement is the first of several funding announcements for the project expected this year and the most significant federal funding for the Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project to date.
The Administration is committed to providing the billions of dollars in funding necessary to ensure that this critical project is completed. Later this year, if and when additional milestones are met by the states and other parties, a full funding agreement will be completed.
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak, with a $66 billion investment in rail. After waiting years for new federal funding, 2023 will be a year in which major rail projects along the 450-mile Northeast Corridor between Washington, DC, and Boston, receive their first significant funding.
New Mega Project Grants
The Mega grant program, created by the infrastructure law, funds projects that are too large or complex for traditional funding programs. Eligible projects include highway, bridge, freight, port, passenger rail, and public transportation projects that are a part of one of the other project types. The Mega program will invest a total of $5 billion through 2026 to help rebuild the United States’ infrastructure for the benefit of residents now and for generations to come.
Beyond the Hudson Tunnel concrete casing project, the Administration is announcing projects of regional and national economic significance that are receiving Mega grant awards including:
$250 million for the Brent Spence Bridge connecting Kentucky and Ohio, part of a total investment of $1.6 Billion from the infrastructure law to build a new companion bridge and rehab an existing bridge along a major freight corridor on I-75. Earlier this month, the President and Senate Minority Leader McConnell visited the Brent Spence Bridge to announce this funding.
$150 million to the Louisiana Department of Transportation for the Calcasieu River Bridge Replacement which will increase capacity on a critical stretch of Interstate 10 which is an important freight route;
$117 million to the Metra Commuter Railroad in Illinois to make improvements on the Metra Union Pacific-North line on a two-mile corridor from the Addison to Fullerton rail bridges, replacing approximately 11 bridges, 4 miles of track structure, and more than 1.75 miles of retaining walls along Metra’s UP-N line;
$110 to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to replace the Alligator River Bridge on U.S. Highway 64 with a modern high-rise fixed span bridge along the primary east-west route in northeastern North Carolina between I-95 and the Outer Banks;
$85 million to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for I-44 and US-75 improvements along a critical urban freight corridor near Tulsa, including vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure improvements;
$78 million to the City of Philadelphia to make improvements along approximately 12.3 miles of Roosevelt Boulevard, from North Broad Street to the Bucks County line including making traffic signal upgrades, constructing intersection and roadway reconfigurations, constructing median barriers and pedestrian refuge islands, making corridor access management improvements, constructing complete streets improvements for accessibility, pedestrian, and bicycle improvements, as well as installing new business access and transit lanes;
$60 million to the Mississippi Department of Transportation to widen I-10 in Harrison and Hancock counties along a major freight corridor of regional significance; and,
$30 million to the California Department of Transportation (Santa Cruz County) for the Watsonville-Cruz Multimodal Corridor Program which will construct approximately 2.5 miles of State Route 1 auxiliary lanes and a Bus on Shoulder facility between Freedom Boulevard and State Park Drive, construct approximately 1.25 miles of the New Coastal Rail Trail within Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line right-of-way, and fund the purchase of 4 new zero-emission buses.
Over one year ago, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness. While “infrastructure week” was a punchline under his predecessor, President Biden is delivering an “infrastructure decade” that is producing real results to change people’s lives for the better, creating good-paying jobs, and boosting American manufacturing.
In his first State of the Union Address in 2022, President Biden highlighted how our historic federal investments in infrastructure would create a visible impact in the lives of American families by committing to start repair on 65,000 miles of roads and 1,500 bridges. The President also committed to making rapid progress across every facet of the law.
Since the last State of the Union, the Administration has surpassed those ambitious goals. This includes launching over 3,700 bridge repair and replacement projects across the country, beginning repair of over 69,000 miles of roadway, awarding funds for over 3,000 new clean transit and school buses, increasing enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program to over 16 million households, and approving state plans for water funding, EV charging networks and high-speed internet deployment.
Overall, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law represents historic progress, as the largest and most significant investment in:
Rebuilding our roads and bridges since President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System;
Public transit in American history and an historic investment to make public transportation accessible;
Passenger rail since Amtrak’s inception, 50 years ago;
Clean water infrastructure;
Affordable, high-speed internet;
Tackling legacy pollution and advancing environmental justice;
Upgrading the power grid to transmit more clean energy and withstand extreme weather;
Increasing our infrastructure’s resilience against the impacts of climate change, extreme weather events, and cyber-attacks;
Replacing dirty diesel buses with clean, electric buses across school bus and transit fleets; and,
A national network of EV chargers in the United States and largest investment in domestic manufacturing of batteries and the critical minerals that power them.
These once-in-a-generation investments are positioning the United States to win the 21st century. That is why the Biden-Harris Administration has been laser-focused on implementing the law.
In recent weeks, the President has announced awards for regionally or nationally-significant projects including over $2 billion to upgrade some our nation’s most economically significant bridges and over $1.2 billion in Mega grants. These infrastructure investments will create good-paying jobs – including union jobs and jobs that do not require a college degree. The projects will grow the economy, strengthen supply chains, improve mobility for residents, and make our transportation systems safer for all users. To highlight that progress, the White House unveiled an illustrative map of signature projects on build.gov.
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to making the funding opportunities from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law both accessible and transparent, so communities across America know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild. Our goal is to help state, local, Tribal and territorial governments navigate, access, and deploy infrastructure resources that will build a better America. As such, the White House today released an updated calendar of notices of funding opportunity expected throughout the year.
“Made in America”
Indeed, President Biden devoted the largest portion of his State of the Union address to infrastructure and jobs:
We used to be number one in the world in infrastructure. We’ve sunk to 13th in the world. The United States of America — 13th in the world in infrastructure, modern infrastructure.
But now we’re coming back because we came together and passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — the largest investment in infrastructure since President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System. (Applause.)
Folks, already we’ve funded over 20,000 projects, including major airports from Boston to Atlanta to Portland — projects that are going to put thousands of people to work rebuilding our highways, our bridges, our railroads, our tunnels, ports, airports, clean water, high-speed Internet all across America — urban, rural, Tribal.
And, folks, we’re just getting started. We’re just getting started. (Applause.)
And I mean this sincerely: I want to thank my Republican friends who voted for the law. And my Republican friends who voted against it as well — but I’m still — I still get asked to fund the projects in those districts as well, but don’t worry. I promised I’d be a President for all Americans. We’ll fund these projects. And I’ll see you at the groundbreaking. (Applause.)
Look, this law — this law will further unite all of America.
Projects like the Brent Spence Bridge in Kentucky over the Ohio River. Built 60 years ago. Badly in need of repairs. One of the nation’s most congested freight routes, carrying $2 billion worth of freight every single day across the Ohio River.
And, folks, we’ve been talking about fixing it for decades, but we’re really finally going to get it done….And that’s what we’re also building — we’re building back pride.
Look, we’re also replacing poisonous lead pipes that go into 10 million homes in America, 400,000 schools and childcare centers so every child in America — every child in American can drink the water, instead of having permanent damage to their brain. (Applause.)
Look, we’re making sure that every community in America has access to affordable, high-speed Internet… And when we do these projects — and, again, I get criticized about this, but I make no excuses for it — we’re going to buy American. (Applause.) ..and it’s totally consistent with international trade rules. Buy American has been the law since 1933. But for too long, past administrations — Democrat and Republican — have fought to get around it. Not anymore.
Tonight, I’m also announcing new standards to require all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America. (Applause.) Made in America. I mean it. (Applause.) Lumber, glass, drywall, fiber-optic cable.
And on my watch, American roads, bridges, and American highways are going to be made with American products as well.
Folks, my economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten. So many of you listening tonight, I know you feel it. So many of you felt like you’ve just simply been forgotten. Amid the economic upheaval of the past four decades, too many people have been left behind and treated like they’re invisible.
Maybe that’s you, watching from home. You remember the jobs that went away. You remember them, don’t you?
The folks at home remember them. You wonder whether the path even exists anymore for your children to get ahead without having to move away…That’s why we’re building an economy where no one is left behind.
Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back because of choices we made in the last several years.
You know, this is, in my view, a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America and make a real difference in your lives at home. (Applause.)
Today, the White House Infrastructure Implementation Team also released new state-by-state fact sheets which outline the progress in all 50 states, DC and the territories as of January 13, 2023:
White House “Buy Clean” Convening Spurs New Commitments to Reduce Industrial Emissions and Support Made in America Steel, Concrete and More
At a White House convening, National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi and Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory joined state leaders to share knowledge and discussed opportunities to collaborate on expanding the purchase of lower-carbon materials made by American workers. Ahead of this convening, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a new set of public and private sector commitments aligned with President Biden’s Federal Buy Clean Initiative, which leverages the Federal Government’s power as the largest purchaser in the world to advance low-carbon construction materials across its procurement and funded infrastructure projects.
President Biden has ushered in an American manufacturing boom, with nearly 700,000 manufacturing jobs added during his Administration so far. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, the President secured historic investments to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure and grow our clean energy economy. By leveraging the U.S. Government’s purchasing power, President Biden is catalyzing markets and positioning American manufacturing to compete and lead.
Partnerships between state, Tribal, regional, local and industry leaders are critical to ensure that Buy Clean investments in clean manufacturing and climate-resilient infrastructure benefit all Americans across the country. President Biden’s Action Plan to Accelerate Infrastructure recognizes that over 90% of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding is delivered by non-federal agencies, underscoring the need for strong partnerships across public and private sectors. Building on recent Administration announcements through the Federal Buy Clean Initiative, today’s actions to create more good-paying manufacturing jobs while tackling the climate crisis include:
New Federal Support: Federal agencies are supporting Buy Clean through new nationwide programs. The Department of Transportation is announcing that 25 states will receive the first Federal Highway Administration Climate Challenge grants to support sustainable pavements. The Department of Energy will coordinate Inflation Reduction Act funds for an Advanced Industrial Facilities Deployment Program. This will help industrial facilities retrofit, upgrade, or install industrial technologies and produce low-carbon materials.
Private Sector Commitments: Companies are also stepping up and announcing new support for Buy Clean initiatives. Major manufacturers are committing to boost the supply of clean products made in America. Across the industrial sector, 60 companies have joined the Better Climate Challenge where they’ve committed to reducing portfolio-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50% by 2030. At the same time, leading businesses are using their engineering, design and purchasing power to drive the demand for low-carbon construction materials.
State and Local Action: Leaders from 20 states will join today’s White House convening to share knowledge and discuss opportunities for collaboration and alignment between State Buy Clean efforts and the Federal Buy Clean Initiative. Cities are also harnessing their purchasing power through public works projects to shift the construction industry toward a cleaner future. Through initiatives like the C40 Clean Construction Accelerator and the Clean Construction Action Coalition, cities and industry leaders are working together to achieve thriving, resilient, and healthy communities—especially for the most vulnerable and historically-marginalized neighborhoods.
NEW FEDERAL SUPPORT
In September, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a major set of Buy Clean initiatives, including a policy to prioritize the Federal Government’s purchase of steel, concrete, asphalt, and flat glass that have lower embodied emissions across their lifecycle—including manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal. These construction materials account for nearly half of all GHG emissions from U.S. manufacturing.
New actions from across the Biden-Harris Administration announced today include:
The Department of Transportation’s(DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is announcing grants for 25 State Departments of Transportation through the Climate Challenge to reduce GHG emissions in highway projects through the use of sustainable construction materials. It also supports the new Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) announced earlier this year that unlocks $6.4 billion in formula funding for states and localities over five years to develop carbon reduction strategies and address the climate crisis.
The Department of Energy (DOE), through the Better Climate Challenge, is partnering with organizations across the U.S. economy to set ambitious goals for reducing their carbon emissions, and to share real world strategies to decarbonize buildings and plants. Since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, three new industrial firms–Metal Technologies, Inc, Intertape Polymer Group, and Bentley Mills–have joined the Better Climate Challenge. Cleveland-Cliffs is the first American steel producer to participate in the Challenge, and represents the largest industrial energy user in DOE’s Better Plants program. DOE also recently launched the Industrial Heat Shot™ to develop cost-competitive solutions for industrial heating processes, used to make everything from food to cement and steel. The effort aims to not only realize at least 85% lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2035, but also support DOE’s Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap to reduce industrial emissions while benefitting workers and revitalizing communities.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is kicking off a series of stakeholder engagement sessions to help shape $350 million in new grants, technical assistance, and tools from the Inflation Reduction Act to lower GHG emissions in construction materials. EPA’s ENERGY STAR Industrial Partnership is also helping over 800 manufacturing companies improve energy efficiency in manufacturing plants. Industrial energy efficiency can provide over 30% of the emission reductions needed from the industrial sector in 2050.
TheGeneral Services Administration (GSA) recently issued a Clean Construction Materials Request for Information to gather input from industry partners on the availability of domestically-manufactured, locally sourced, and low-carbon construction materials. This feedback will help inform $2.15 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funding for federal procurement of lower-carbon materials and products containing steel, concrete, flat glass, asphalt, and potentially other construction materials used in nationwide federal construction, modernization, and paving projects.
TheDepartment of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is designing a new program supported by the Inflation Reduction Act. The Green and Resilient Retrofit Program will make funding available to support energy and water efficiency retrofits, make use of clean energy and energy storage, promote building electricity, and increase climate resilience for HUD-assisted multifamily properties. HUD has released a Request for Information to assess program design and uses for project funding and/or financing, including low-emission building materials or processes.
PRIVATE SECTOR COMMITMENTS
Concrete and steel are the most widely used construction materials in the world. Each year, more than four billion tons of cement are produced, accounting for around 8% of global GHG emissions, all of which occur well before a concrete truck arrives on a job site. Federal, state, and local governments purchase about half of concrete poured and cast in the United States; the other half is purchased by the private sector. Strong partners in the manufacturing sector are innovating and investing in scaling up production of lower-carbon materials. At the same time, design, architecture and engineering firms are integrating cleaner materials into project designs, and major corporate purchasers are sending clear demand signals. Together, we can grow clean manufacturing jobs and reach net zero emissions:
General Motors will join the First Movers Coalition, the public-private partnership that intends to help commercialize zero-carbon technologies by harnessing purchasing power. General Motors joins the coalition as a member of the concrete sector, with an ambitious pledge to purchase at least 10% (by volume) near-zero concrete by 2030 and beyond.
Starbucks commits to reduce carbon emissions in its direct operations and supply chain 50% by 2030, including advancing measurement and reductions in embodied and lifecycle carbon for its equipment and building materials. Through the Greener Stores program, it has launched an open-source educational series, with actions that can be taken to support reductions in carbon, water and waste—including sourcing sustainable materials.
Lehigh Hanson, one of North America’s leading producers of cement, concrete and aggregate construction materials, commits to transforming concrete to carbon neutral by 2050, and to generating as much as 50% of revenues from sustainable products by 2030. This will be driven with product transparency and innovation in the manufacturing process and substantial CO2 reduction in its construction products.
Central Concrete, a subsidiary of Vulcan Materials Company, the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates, is collaborating on Buy Clean by continuing to develop mixes and evaluate technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with concrete production, and to partner with local governments on the development of low-carbon building specifications. The company has a proven track record of reducing carbon in concrete by up to 50%.
National Grid commits to work with suppliers to set carbon reduction targets that support net zero, including engaging its most carbon-intensive suppliers through CDP. National Grid will advance these and other priorities within the Federal Buy Clean Initiative.
Perkins&Will, the second-largest architecture firm in the world, commits to reducing embodied and operational carbon in the buildings and places it designs. The firm uses tools like the Embodied Carbon Calculator (EC3) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to reduce embodied carbon by 30% or more.
Organizations such as Breakthrough Energy, Meta, and Baker Concrete Construction are teaming up through the NEU Center to scale low carbon concrete solutions. The Center will drive adoption of innovative materials and technologies entering the marketplace.
The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Structural Engineering Institute’s “SE 2050” commits to achieving net zero embodied carbon structural systems by 2050. As of today, the program has 98 structural firms signed onto the commitment across 29 states and the District of Columbia.
Through “MEP 2040” over 50 Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) systems engineer and designer firms commit to achieve net zero carbon in their projects: operational carbon by 2030 and embodied carbon by 2040. Signatories request EPDs in project specifications for all building systems.
Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI) has launched the Decarbonizing Industrial Supply Chain Energy (DISC-e) program to harness the collective power of large consumers to accelerate the market for low-carbon industrial commodities that use carbon-free energy throughout the manufacturing supply chain. Lightsource bp is building 2.0 gigawatts of clean energy, representing more than $2.1 billion of investments across America, with a commitment to domestic content and lower embodied carbon. They are driving demand for made-in-America solar manufactured by suppliers with a lower emissions footprint. Avangrid a member of Iberdrola, will support the group’s global commitment of specifying 100% net zero steel by 2050 and 50% by 2030.
Arup, a leading global engineering and design firm, commits to lifecycle carbon assessments for all buildings projects, and will help the sector to reach net zero by 2050.
Carbon Leadership Forum announces 20 embodied carbon Regional Hubs across 16 states. Strong collaborations with building designers and policymakers have supported their Embodied Carbon educational series and the development of a pilot national database of whole building life cycle analysis models to set ambitious carbon-reduction targets and incentivize high-impact reduction strategies.
Lendlease and Robert Bird Group join the Climate Group’s ConcreteZero initiative today, committing to specify, buy and use 100% net zero concrete by 2040 and 2050 respectively, with two ambitious interim targets of using 30% low emission concrete by 2025 and 50% by 2030. Together, these global businesses send a strong demand signal for sustainably produced concrete to the U.S. market.
SSAB Americas commits to producing steel with zero emissions in the United States as early as 2023 (in limited quantities). And today, through the installation of an onsite, renewable fuel storage and supply system, SSAB is embracing emerging technologies that help put the steel industry on the path to be carbon-neutral by 2050.
Administration Launches $500 million Grant Program from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Program to Save Schools Money with Energy Upgrades
Vice President Kamala Harris announced the Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure to upgrade our public schools with modern, clean, energy efficient facilities and transportation—delivering health and learning benefits to children and school communities, saving school districts money, and creating good union jobs. The action plan activates the entire federal government in leveraging investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan to advance solutions including energy efficiency retrofits, electric school buses, and resilient design.
The science of learning and development has shown that students need school environments filled with safety, belonging, and health to learn and thrive. Yet many schools rely on outdated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that make classrooms less comfortable and may pose health risks to students and teachers exposed to contaminants or particles in the air that can trigger allergies or asthma attacks and potentially spread infectious diseases – including COVID-19. Dirty diesel buses pose additional health risks for students on board and the neighborhoods they travel through — and exhaust from idling buses can pollute the air around schools. Studies show that poor air quality inside classrooms takes a toll on student concentration and performance, and diesel exhaust exposure is linked to increased school absences. Reducing this pollution will provide better health and educational outcomes — particularly in low-income communities and communities of color that have long faced underinvestment and the burden of high pollution.
The action plan will save schools and taxpayers money. Public K-12 districts spend roughly $8 billion a year on energy bills — the second largest expense after teacher salaries. Energy efficiency improvements to HVAC systems, lighting, insulation, and other energy upgrades can not only protect the health of our children, but also unlock significant savings to go toward students and learning. Off-the-shelf improvements can provide energy savings of 10 to 30 percent and broader upgrades can unlock even more savings for years to come – all while creating opportunities for good paying union jobs for electricians, carpenters, painters, sheet metal workers, plumbers and pipefitters, and more.
The Administration is seizing the opportunity to align classrooms with the science of learning and development to improve educational equity and environmental justice. The new actions build on President Biden signing the American Rescue Plan into law one year ago, which helped reopen more than 99% of schools with resources to put in place critical health and safety measures like ventilation improvements to make in-person learning safe and accessible for students and educators.
The Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure will:
Invest in More Efficient, Energy-Saving School Buildings: The Department of Energy (DOE) is launching a $500 million grant program through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make public schools more energy efficient. This new program will lower energy costs, improve air quality, and prioritize schools most in need, enabling schools to focus more resources on student learning.
Improve Classroom Air Quality through the American Rescue Plan: The Administration is supporting states, school districts, and local communities in leveraging American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief resources to address school infrastructure needs—like repairing, upgrading, or replacing of ventilation systems; purchasing air filters and portable air cleaning devices; and fixing doors and windows so that schools can stay open for in-person learning. Additionally, the Department of Treasury will soon release additional information to help school districts understand how they can use State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for a range of air quality and other school facility improvements, including energy efficiency.
Help Schools Access Resources and Best Practices: The White House is releasing a toolkit to help schools and school districts access available funding, as well as technical assistance opportunities and planning tools to help schools improve air quality, energy efficiency, and more. This new toolkit will further support school participation in the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, which the Administration recently launched to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and improve indoor air quality in buildings of all kinds, including schools. The Department of Energy is also announcing the inaugural honorees of the Efficient and Healthy Schools Campaign, which provides technical assistance to school districts seeking to implement high-impact indoor air quality and efficiency improvements that will reduce energy bills and improve student and teacher health.
Expand Clean and Safe School Transportation: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with support from the Department of Energy (DOE), is releasing new online resources to help school districts and other eligible recipients prepare for the $5 billion Clean School Bus Program created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—with the first opportunity to fund clean and electric buses opening later this spring. The DOE is working closely with the EPA to develop targeted technical assistance programs that assist school districts in implementing clean and electric buses effectively into their fleets–starting with a technical assistance video series on electric buses. To support projects that help students safely walk and bike to school, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has provided state and local governments with new guidance to access $90 billion in available federal funding, including Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs.
Support for Rural, Tribal, and Puerto Rican Schools: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing its full commitment to use its array of rural development loan and grant programs to support electric school bus acquisition, charging station infrastructure, energy efficiency investments at schools, and broadband and distance learning in rural school districts – to accelerate the shift from dirty fuel sources toward school facilities and vehicles powered by clean electricity. DOE is partnering with the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to improve the state of our federally-operated schools. And the Administration’s Working Group on Puerto Rico has prioritized supporting school reconstruction.
Today’s announcements build on ongoing efforts to support students, including the Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan to reduce lead exposure in 400,000 schools and child care facilities and the Justice40 Initiative, which agencies are implementing to deliver 40 percent of the benefits of federal climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.
Investments to Improve School Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality
The Administration is advancing a suite of investments to upgrade our K-12 public school facilities, many of which face maintenance backlogs and are long overdue for new equipment. While teachers and education leaders have long raised concerns about the level of comfort and air quality in our classrooms, the pandemic has laid bare disparities in access to healthy facilities, including modern, efficient, and clean HVAC systems. Outdated, inefficient buildings also saddle underserved school districts with higher energy bills and generate significant greenhouse gas emissions, keeping them in a cycle of underfunding operations and overpaying maintenance costs. This Action Plan will help schools make facility improvements that simultaneously deliver health protections, savings, and climate benefits.
Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a Request for Information to launch its new $500 million grant program for energy improvements at public school facilities, funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The projects funded by these grants will improve the quality of the air our students and educators breathe while reducing energy costs and freeing up local funds to invest more in education. These grants can support comprehensive energy efficiency audits and building retrofits, HVAC and lighting upgrades, clean energy installation, and more—along with training to help staff maintain these improvements over the long-term. DOE will prioritize projects in rural and high-poverty schools, and support leveraging of additional private, philanthropic, and public funding to maximize the benefits of these grants. In step with the Administration’s priority to create good union jobs accessible to all workers, the DOE will work to promote high quality labor and equity standards into school improvement grants. The RFI solicits input from schools and other stakeholders on important design considerations to ensure the grant program achieves the greatest reach and impact.
The Administration is also leveraging the American Rescue Plan, which President Biden signed into law one year ago, to address a range of health and safety issues in schools. The American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief program has provided $122 billion to states and districts to help schools stay open and address the significant academic and mental health needs of students resulting from the pandemic. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan also includes$350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to support a wide range of pandemic response and recovery efforts, including school improvements to ventilation and building energy systems that reduce energy costs and support healthy environments. And, according to independent analysis, school districts are already planning to spend $15 billion of these funds to address facilities issues impacting student and staff health and safety, such as improving indoor air quality. The Department of Treasury will soon provide additional clarity to help recipients of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds understand how they can partner with local education agencies to use more of these funds for building upgrades and construction, including pre-project development costs, such as building assessments, energy audits, and feasibility studies. The Department of Education continues to outline how states and districts can use its funds for repairs and renovations, including improving indoor air quality through HVAC upgrades and door and window replacement, and ensuring clean drinking water in schools.
New Resources and Recognition to Support Schools To help schools access funding sources and technical assistance opportunities, the White House is releasing a toolkit mapping out available resources across the federal government for school infrastructure upgrades. By compiling resources and programs from across the federal government, this toolkit will help state and local officials find the support they need for building assessments, air quality improvements, energy efficiency upgrades, lead removal, resilience planning, and more. It builds on the Administration’s priority on improving indoor air quality through the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in buildings and to deliver better health outcomes and protection for all building occupants.
To support and uplift schools and districts undertaking this critical work, the Administration is announcing the first round of honorees as part of the Efficient and Healthy Schools Campaign, which provides technical assistance to school districts seeking to implement high-impact indoor air quality and efficiency improvements that will reduce energy bills and improve student and teacher health. This innovative campaign has a goal of reaching 5,000 schools by the end of 2022. To date, 26 school districts across 16 states have joined or are prepared to join the campaign—representing over 1,500,000 students in 2,600 individual schools—more than half way toward the campaign’s goal.
Today, the Campaign announced its first round of awards to eight school districts for their best-in-class efforts across four categories: Efficient HVAC Technologies, Inspection & maintenance, Ongoing Monitoring & Analytics, and Team Approach to Support Strategic Investments. The inaugural honorees include:
Adams 12 Five Star Schools, CO
Boulder Valley School District, CO
Charleston County School District, SC
Columbia Public Schools, MO
Davis School District, UT
Greenville County Schools, SC
Mariposa County Unified School District, CA
Newark Board of Education, NJ
DOE is also accelerating a range of grants, technical assistance, and lending to support schools along each step of the school improvement process. These efforts include the Better Buildings Challenge and its K-12 Sector partnerships; DOE’s new tool—eProject eXpress—that can support state and local governments and K-12 schools in project management for energy saving performance contracts, and help leverage financing to maximize impact; and DOE’s Loan Programs Office Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Solicitation that can be accessed by schools to provide up to $3 billion in loan guarantees for retrofit projects.
And to ensure that schools are supported in creating healthy, safe, sustainable, 21st century learning environments, the Department of Education is proposing a new Office of Infrastructure and Sustainability, as part of the President’s FY2023 Budget. This office would oversee a proposed National Clearinghouse on School Infrastructure and Sustainability and administer the ongoing U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition award. The proposed National Clearinghouse on School Infrastructure and Sustainability would provide technical assistance and training to state and local education agencies on issues related to educational facility planning, design, financing, construction, improvement, operation, and maintenance, including green building design and operation practices consistent with the Administration’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis. The Clearinghouse would also develop resources and assemble best practices on issues related to ensuring equitable access to healthy, educationally adequate and environmentally and fiscally sustainable public-school facilities and grounds. To set the stage for this new office, the Department of Education recently named a Special Advisor for Infrastructure and Sustainability to spearhead agency-wide consideration of how existing programs might support school sustainability and infrastructure.
These actions build on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, which calls on all building owners and operators, schools, colleges and universities, and organizations of all kinds to adopt key strategies to improve indoor air quality in their buildings and reduce the spread of COVID-19. It serves as a call to action to assess indoor air quality and make ventilation and air filtration improvements to help keep occupants safe. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a best practices guide for improving indoor air quality and reducing the risk of spreading dangerous airborne particles.
Clean and Safe School Transportation School buses safely transport more than 25 million children every day across America. However, diesel exhaust from buses produces particulate matter and other pollutants that can cause lung damage and aggravate asthma and other health problems in children. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation, with support and technical assistance from the Department of Energy, are making historic investments in cleaner school buses and safer school transportation routes.
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency is building public awareness for the new $5 billion Clean School Bus Program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Throughout the next month, EPA will regularly post new online resources and webinars for the Clean School Bus Program to help school districts and other eligible recipients prepare for the first round of applications. These resources build upon EPA’s public education and outreach effort, to gather ideas and increase awareness within communities and school districts, particularly for lower-resourced schools—in support of the President’s Justice40 commitment.
The Department of Transportation is helping communities take advantage of funding to support safer routes to schools made available by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program at DOT helps communities plan, design, and construct infrastructure projects that increase healthy transportation choices and substantially improve the ability of students to walk and bicycle safely to school—particularly in communities underserved by safe transportation options. Since 2015, the SRTS program has supported over $1 billion in safe school route projects benefiting nearly 7 million students across more than 17,000 schools—a third of which were in disadvantaged communities and Title I schools.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law expanded the eligibility of the SRTS program to schools through 12th grade and added eligibility for safe school route projects through the nearly $17 billion-per-year Highway Safety Improvement Program—including for use in training and education.
Support for Rural, Tribal, and Puerto Rican Schools The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today a new commitment to support school facility and vehicle electrification, including school buses. In support of this commitment, USDA released a new guidance that informs how Rural Development programs can support rural electric cooperatives to advance electrification projects for schools and other public facilities and vehicles.
These funding and assistance programs can support rural utilities like those in a newly formed Electric Cooperative School Bus Initiative , a collaboration of more than 350 local distribution cooperatives across 32 states, providing educational and administrative support to help rural communities access funding for electric school buses and school bus infrastructure.
Additionally, DOE is partnering with the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to improve the state of our federally-operated schools. Aligning with the President’s Justice 40 Initiative, the DOE Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) is assisting BIE to initiate a set of pilot assessments in Tribal schools for energy efficiency and indoor air quality projects.
The Administration’s Working Group on Puerto Rico has prioritized supporting school reconstruction efforts on the island. Agencies collaborated on a toolkit in both English and Spanish outlining federal resources available to help Puerto Rico recover and rebuild safe, healthy and modernized school facilities. Agencies have also provided technical assistance to Puerto Rican officials on how they can leverage multiple funding streams to rebuild, repair, and modernize their schools.
Support for Training and Workforce Development School improvements provide critical training opportunities for building an effective workforce. Large school projects often last multiple years and draw upon a large mix of trades. This continuity of training and employment makes them ideal opportunities for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs that lead directly to good-paying careers. And when done alongside the President’s Justice40 Initiative, these investments will prioritize under-resourced schools while also investing in communities that can benefit from long-term training and employment.
The Department of Labor’s Good Jobs Initiative is supporting federal agency partners as they embed job quality and equity policies into their infrastructure investments. The Good Jobs Initiative is supporting federal agency partners as they work to leverage their infrastructure investments to provide meaningful opportunities for all communities to enter good paying union careers.
The wide array of federal offerings can support initiatives such as the Carbon Free and Healthy Schools campaign–which is led by labor unions in collaboration with students, parents, and climate advocates across the country–to create safe, healthy, and cost-effective school environments through building retrofits and solarization, while supporting strong labor standards and robust worker training opportunities. The campaign is currently working with school districts representing more than five million students across Texas, California, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Michigan, Maine, and Wisconsin, with more state campaigns in formation.
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine likely to take up a large measure of President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union speech, he is unlikely to have enough time or space to detail his accomplishments and his agenda going forward. Here are more details from the White House about what the President will say about clean energy manufacturing, strengthening the US energy sector, and cutting consumer costs and creating good-paying jobs:
President Biden campaigned on a bold vision of tackling the climate crisis with the urgency that science demands by seizing the opportunity to build a strong domestic energy sector that can manufacture and deploy clean energy for the benefit of all Americans—with lower costs for families, good-paying jobs for workers, and healthier air and cleaner water for communities.
Since Day One, he has delivered. After rejoining the Paris Agreement, restoring scientific integrity, and reinvigorating U.S. leadership on the world stage, President Biden mobilized every federal agency to achieve groundbreaking goals: reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50-52% below 2005 levels in 2030, reaching 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035, and delivering 40% of the benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities. The President formed the first-ever National Climate Task Force, bringing together Cabinet leaders to drive decisive action toward those goals.
Alongside historic executive actions, President Biden also made climate action and environmental justice a centerpiece of his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—which includes the largest federal investments ever in upgrading the power grid, improving public transit and investing in zero-emission transit and school buses, installing a nationwide EV charging network, cleaning up legacy pollution, delivering clean water and replacing lead pipes, demonstrating innovative climate technologies, and increasing climate resilience to safeguard against extreme weather, which last year caused more than $145 billion in damages from the biggest 20 disasters alone.
CALLING ON CONGRESS TO DELIVER
President Biden knows that we need to move even faster to combat climate change—and that to meet the moment and fully seize the economic opportunity in front of us, Congress must act. In his first State of the Union address, the President will call on Congress to deliver on a legislative agenda for clean energy and climate action that has overwhelming support from the American people—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
Specifically, the President will lift up the benefits we can secure for American consumers, companies, and communities by enacting critical investments and tax credits for domestic clean energy manufacturing and deployment. He will also highlight how the investments and tax credits would cut energy costs for American families an average of $500 per year.
As part of the President’s unwavering support for climate solutions, these investments will reduce emissions, lower costs for families, create good-paying jobs for workers, and advance environmental justice.
BOLD ACTIONS TWO MONTHS INTO 2022
As the President works with Congress to deliver on this legislative agenda, he will continue taking decisive and bold action—building on the surge of momentum he has spearheaded to tackle the climate crisis. During just the first two months of 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration:
Announced actions from seven agencies on clean energy deployment, including new investments and partnerships to advance offshore wind; steps to fast-track solar, onshore wind, and geothermal energy on public lands; and the “Building a Better Grid” initiative to build out long-distance transmission lines and unlock clean energy resources.
Launched the Building Performance Standards Coalition with more than 30 state and local governments to reduce emissions, create good-paying union jobs in energy efficiency and electrification, and lower energy bills, with federal assistance for policy design and implementation.
Built on the Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan by announcing an initial $1.15 billion to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells, $725 million to reclaim abandoned mine lands, a new interagency initiative on measurement and monitoring of methane and other greenhouse emissions, enforcement efforts to minimize methane emissions from pipeline systems, and more.
Advanced America’s electric vehicle future, standing with CEOs to announce new manufacturing facilities for electric vehicles, batteries, and chargers and issuing state allocations and guidance for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program.
Convened a roundtable of electric utility CEOs to discuss their support for Congressional investments in clean energy to reduce costs for families, make the power grid more resilient and reliable, and advance American innovation, job creation, and economic competitiveness.
Took major steps to reduce industrial emissions and advance clean manufacturing, including clean hydrogen investments, the first Buy Clean Task Force for federal purchasing of low-carbon construction materials, progress on carbon-based trade policies to reward clean steel and aluminum manufacturing, guidance on responsible deployment of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration technologies, and new initiatives to ensure that industrial innovation benefits American workers and communities.
Released the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool for public feedback, to help agencies deliver benefits to disadvantaged communities and fulfill the President’s Justice40 commitment.
Announced major investments to secure a Made in America supply chain for critical minerals and sustainably source key inputs (including lithium and rare earth elements) for clean energy technologies like batteries, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels. This includes taking action to update outdated mining regulations and laws to ensure that extraction and production adheres to strong environmental, labor, and community and Tribal engagement standards.
ReleasedAmerica’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy Transition,a first-of-its-kind energy sector industrial base strategy, which includes the creation of a new Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains Office at the Department of Energy to strengthen, secure, and modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure and support clean energy manufacturing jobs.
Held a record-shattering offshore wind auction in the New York Bight, with winning bids for six lease areas totaling $4.37 billion, signaling the arrival of a strong American industry that’s here to stay. Innovative lease stipulations will promote projects built with union labor and Made in America materials, and these projects will generate clean electricity to power millions of homes.
HISTORIC YEAR OF PROGRESS This wave of climate action to kick off 2022 builds on historic progress President Biden achieved during his first year in office, when he:
For the first time, set an official target to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, economy-wide, by no later than 2050 and cut greenhouse gas pollution by more than half in 2030.
Fast-tracked clean energy, setting national records with hundreds of new solar, wind, and storage projects—which are creating good-paying, union jobs and lowering energy costs.
Jumpstarted an electric transportation future that’s Made in America, uniting automakers and autoworkers to get to 50% electric vehicle sales share in 2030 and spurring investments of over $100 billion in the American EV and battery manufacturing industry.
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine likely to take up a large measure of President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union speech, he is unlikely to have enough time or space to detail his accomplishments and his agenda going forward. Here are more details from the White House about the President’s plan to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure over the next year:
The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will rebuild crumbling road and bridges, replace lead pipes, help make available reliable, affordable high-speed internet to every family in America, and produce concrete results that change people’s lives for the better. It will also support American manufacturing jobs by making sure taxpayer dollars are spent purchasing American made goods. Rebuilding our infrastructure and supply chains here at home, and making more here in America, means we can create more good jobs, move what we make more efficiently, and ultimately lower prices for the American people. By reaching all communities all across the country – including rural communities and historically underserved populations – these once-in-a-generation investments will position the United States to win the 21st century.
In the first 106 days since President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the White House Infrastructure Implementation Team has hit the ground running to deliver concrete results for the American people. Nearly $100 billion of dedicated funding has been announced and is headed to states, territories, Tribes and local governments, with another nearly $50 billion of notices of funding opportunity released. To date, over 4000 projects have been announced, from airport improvements to port upgrades to superfund cleanup sites. Over 90 percent of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding will be spent by non-federal partners, meaning the Biden-Harris administration will be partnering with states, territories, Tribes, local governments and others to deliver the crucial infrastructure projects and the good-paying jobs created by these investments.
In his first State of the Union Address, President Biden will highlight how our historic federal investments in infrastructure will create a visible impact in the lives of American families this year by committing to start repair on 65,000 miles of roads and 1,500 bridges. The President will also commit to rapid progress across every facet of the law.
Roads & Bridges: As a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Department of Transportation announced $52.5 billion for highways and more than $5.3 billion for bridges for fiscal year 2022. Over the next year, states, territories, Tribes and local governments will start to improve 65,000 miles of roads and 1,500 bridges with federal funding, representing at 44% and 50% increase respectively from average annual improvement levels over the past six years.
Airports: In December, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at USDOT announced $3 billion for 3,075 airports across the country that can use investments to upgrade critical infrastructure. Over the next year, FAA will be able to invest in over 600 airport infrastructure projects, including preserving 400 pavement projects on taxiways and runways.
Transit: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes the largest Federal investment in public transit in history. Over the next year, communities will be investing in an estimated 15,000 new buses, ferries and subway cars, improving commutes for working Americans, families, and students across the country and reducing greenhouse emissions.
Rail: The Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak are transforming the nation’s transportation system. In the next year, Amtrak is investing Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding in 75 new, Made-in-America locomotives, at least 73 Made-in-America Intercity Trainsets, and major improvements to facilities in the Northeast Corridor.
Ports, Waterways, and Flood Mitigation: With $14 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other appropriations, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will advance over 500 projects across 52 states and territories to strengthen supply chains, improve waterways, and reduce flooding. Additional projects will be funded by the Port Infrastructure Development Program.
Broadband Access & Deployment: In the next year, the Department of Commerce will issue final guidance and notices of funding opportunity for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program and the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, which together will distribute more than $43 billion in broadband funding. The Department of Agriculture will issue a new funding opportunity notice for the ReConnect program which will provide nearly $2 billion in funding for rural broadband deployment.
Broadband Affordability: Over the next year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will build on the more than 10 million lower-income households already receiving subsidized internet service through the Affordable Connectivity Program. The FCC will also adopt rules requiring broadband providers to display easy-to-understand labels to allow consumers to more effectively comparison shop for broadband services.
CLIMATE, CLEAN ENERGY, AND ENVIRONMENT
Clean Water: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $7.4 billion for Fiscal Year 2022 in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding will be available to states to upgrade America’s aging water infrastructure, sewerage systems, lead pipes and service lines, and more through their State Revolving Fund programs. By this time next year, using Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding alone, EPA will have worked with state and local governments to fund more than 400 new water projects from replacing lead service lines to improving drinking water systems.
Abandoned Mine Lands: The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced nearly $725 million in Fiscal Year 2022 funding for 22 states and the Navajo Nation to create good-paying union jobs and catalyze economic opportunity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands. Over the next year, DOI expects states, Tribes, and other partners to reclaim over 15,000 acres of abandoned mine lands, as well as launch new reclamation efforts that will ultimately address tens of thousands of additional acres across the country using Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds. This investment delivers on President Biden’s historic commitment to investing in the revitalization of the energy communities that have powered our country for generations.
Orphan Wells: The first $1.15 billion in funding is now available to 26 states to create good-paying jobs cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells across the country. Over the next year, we expect the DOI’s new Orphan Well Program will start work plugging, capping, and remediating over 8,000 abandoned oil & gas well sites in communities across the country.
Superfund: EPA announced $1 billion to initiate cleanup and clear the backlog of 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country, with work expected at more than 80 Superfund cleanup projects in the next year.
Great Lakes Restoration: EPA announced $1 billion for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, including $200 million in Fiscal Year 2022, to accelerate progress in the clean-up and restoration of the Great Lakes’ most environmentally degraded sites, securing clean water and a better environment for millions of Americans in the Great Lakes region. In the next year, EPA will work across more than 20 sites across the Great Lakes basin targeting open areas of concern.
Wildfire Resilience: In the next year, the DOI will increase its work to reduce the risk of wildfires to communities by more than 30 percent– removing over 300,000 acres of burnable fuels in the places where communities and wildlands meet – as well as the start of work to reduce wildfire risk on an additional 250,000 acres across the country. With BIL funding and existing appropriations, the US Forest Service at the Department of Agriculture also expects to execute hazardous fuels reduction work on more than 4 million acres over the next year, including reforesting up to 400,000 acres to create new carbon sinks on previously burned lands.
Critical Mineral Refinery: The Department of Energy (DOE) released a Request for Information for the construction and operation of a first-of-its kind $140 million demonstration facility to extract and separate rare earth elements and other critical minerals from coal ash, mine tailings, acid drainage, and other legacy fossil fuel waste to sustainably produce materials key to next-generation clean energy technologies. This facility will support good-paying manufacturing jobs and help secure a sustainable domestic supply chain to fight the climate crisis.
Battery Manufacturing: This Spring, DOE will make available nearly $3 billion to bolster domestic manufacturing of advanced batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage. This includes refining and production of battery materials, manufacturing of battery cells and packs, and end-of-life recycling to create good-paying manufacturing jobs and support growing demand for electric vehicles and energy storage to meet the Administration’s ambitious net-zero climate goals.
New Pro-Climate, Pro-Worker Actions Create Jobs and Harness the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Federal Purchasing Power, and Trade Policy
We publish these fact sheets – long, detailed – from the White House to counter the disinformation that the Biden Administration “isn’t doing anything”- especially on the issues that matter most to progressives, like climate action, jobs, workers rights and income growth aimed at reducing the enormous wealth gap. In fact, on almost a daily basis, the administration – without the help of a paralyzed, dysfunctional Congress – is accomplishing significant reforms and innovations to benefit the daily lives of Americans.- Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions across agencies to support American leadership on clean manufacturing—including low-carbon production of the steel and aluminum we need for electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels, and the clean concrete we need to upgrade our transportation infrastructure. These actions will create more good-paying jobs and follow on a historic comeback for American factories, with 367,000 manufacturing jobs added during President Biden’s first year in office, the most in nearly 30 years. Further strengthening our industrial base will revitalize local economies, lower prices for consumers, provide more pathways to the middle class through union jobs, and boost American competitiveness in global markets.
The industrial sector is also central to tackling the climate crisis, as it is currently responsible for nearly a third of domestic greenhouse gas emissions. By helping manufacturers use clean energy, efficiency upgrades, and other innovative technologies to reduce emissions, the Administration is supporting cleaner industry that can produce the next generation of products and materials for a net-zero economy. These same manufacturing improvements will also protect public health, by reducing releases of air and water pollutants and toxic materials that disproportionately harm low-income households and communities of color.
Today’s announcements will clean up industrial processes that have long been challenging sources of pollution; create good-paying, union jobs across American manufacturing; and use domestic procurement and global trade policy to reward clean, American-made materials:
The Department of Energy is launching major clean hydrogen initiatives of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: $8 billion for Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs that will create jobs to expand use of clean hydrogen in the industrial sector and beyond; $1 billion for a Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis Program to reduce costs of hydrogen produced from clean electricity; and $500 million for Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing and Recycling Initiatives to support equipment manufacturing and strong domestic supply chains.
The Council on Environmental Quality and White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy are establishing the first-ever Buy Clean Task Force, which will harness the federal government’s massive purchasing power to support low-carbon materials made in American factories. The General Services Administration and the Department of Transportation are also announcing new efforts to promote use of low-carbon materials in construction projects funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the State Department and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate are securing corporate purchasing commitments for low-carbon materials and technologies through the First Movers Coalition.
The Administration is advancing carbon-based trade policies to reward American manufacturers of clean steel and aluminum. Working with the European Union, the Administration is taking steps to align global trade with climate goals, which will keep out dirty products and result in more jobs and lower prices for Americans.
The Council on Environmental Quality is issuing new guidance on responsible deployment of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS) technologies that can reduce emissions from heavy industry and help us achieve a net-zero economy. This guidance will support CCUS projects that create union jobs and protect communities from cumulative pollution impacts. Actions by agencies will incorporate environmental justice considerations across CCUS activities.
To equitably advance innovation across the entire sector, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is launching a new Initiative for Interdisciplinary Industrial Decarbonization Research with a focus on benefitting American workers and communities. The Department of Energy is working to establish the Industrial Technology Innovation Advisory Committee (ITIAC) to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders charged with creating a comprehensive strategy to lower the carbon footprint of America’s industrial base.
These actions and continued implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will reduce climate pollution from industrial facilities, while growing the economy and creating jobs in producing clean materials—which customers around the world are increasingly demanding.
With a strong foundation in place from today’s announcements, the President’s Build Back Better agenda will further boost clean manufacturing and American competitiveness for decades to come, by supporting low-carbon processes across our industrial base; driving long-term investment in our clean steel, cement, and aluminum industries; and increasing domestic production of electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, and more. Earlier this month, the House passed the America COMPETES Act, which would strengthen supply chains, lower prices, and create more manufacturing jobs, while decarbonizing the industrial sector—including through a $250 million Regional Clean Energy Innovation Program and new programs to decarbonize American steel.
Specifically, today the Administration is announcing new efforts on:
Accelerating Clean Hydrogen
Clean hydrogen can reduce emissions in many sectors of the economy, and is especially important for hard-to-decarbonize sectors and industrial processes, such as steel manufacturing. But clean hydrogen is not yet in widespread use. Targeted investments can help reduce costs, make new breakthroughs, and create jobs for American engineers, factory workers, construction workers, and others.
To seize those opportunities, today the Department of Energy (DOE) is launching three major new initiatives of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law by issuing Requests for Information:
$8 billion for Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs: DOE will support development of networks of clean hydrogen producers, potential consumers, and connective infrastructure. These regional hubs will advance the production, processing, delivery, storage, and end-use of clean hydrogen, including innovative uses in the industrial sector. DOE will prioritize hubs that can provide significant training and long-term job opportunities for residents of the region.
$1 billion for a Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis Program: Electrolysis (using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen) allows for clean hydrogen production from carbon pollution-free power sources like wind, solar, and nuclear. This program will improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of these technologies, by supporting the entire innovation chain—from research, development, and demonstration to commercialization, and deployment.
$500 million for Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing and Recycling RD&D Activities: DOE will also support American manufacturing of clean hydrogen equipment, including projects that improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness and support domestic supply chains for key components, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing Initiative. DOE is also launching Clean Hydrogen Technology Recycling Research, Development, and Demonstration activities, to fund innovative approaches to increase the reuse and recycling of clean hydrogen technologies.
These Requests for Information will gather feedback from stakeholders and communities on future implementation and priorities for DOE to consider as it moves forward with maximizing the benefits of the historic clean hydrogen programs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
To further support DOE’s Hydrogen Shot to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 for one kilogram in one decade, last week DOE announced $28 million for R&D and front-end engineering design projects to advance clean hydrogen in industrial uses, as well as the transportation and electricity sectors. DOE’s new H2 Matchmaker resource is helping clean hydrogen producers, end-users, and others find opportunities to develop networks of production, storage, and transportation infrastructure. H2 Matchmaker displays a map using information received through an online form, which stakeholders can use to connect with others nearby.
The Administration’s Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization is bringing together stakeholders from across the private sector, philanthropy, labor, and community-based organizations to catalyze new job opportunities for energy communities, including in clean hydrogen. For example, a December roundtable included discussion of efforts to reduce emissions and create jobs in the South Louisiana industrial corridor. The region is a finalist in the Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. An initial grant will help them continue to plan their clean hydrogen cluster, and they are eligible to apply for a Phase 2 implementation grant.
Launching “Buy Clean” Procurement
The federal government is the largest purchaser in the world, with annual purchasing power of over $650 billion. To harness that power to support low-carbon, made in America materials, the Council on Environmental Quality and White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy are establishing the first-ever Buy Clean Task Force. As directed by the President’s December 2021executive order on federal sustainability, the Task Force will promote use of construction materials with lower embodied emissions and pollutants across their lifecycle—including each stage of the manufacturing process.
Other members include the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Transportation; the Environmental Protection Agency; the General Services Administration; and the White House Office of Management and Budget. The Task Force, which will continue to expand, is convening to develop recommendations on:
Identifying materials, such as steel and concrete, as well as pollutants to prioritize for consideration in Federal procurement and federally funded projects
Increasing the transparency of embodied emissions through supplier reporting, including incentives and technical assistance to help domestic manufacturers better report and reduce embodied emissions
Launching pilot programs to boost federal procurement of clean construction materials
With the Buy Clean Task Force now established, the federal government is at the leading edge of using public procurement to increase demand for cleanly manufactured materials, along with states including California, Colorado, Minnesota, New York, and Washington.
Buy Clean efforts are already well underway at the General Services Administration (GSA), which manages a nationwide federal real estate portfolio and oversees approximately $75 billion in annual contracts. Over the past year, GSA has actively engaged stakeholders to learn and adopt best practices for reducing embodied emissions of buildings and materials. Today, GSA is issuing Requests for Information (RFIs) focused on concrete and asphalt. In the coming weeks, GSA will use the RFI responses to shape the launch of national low-carbon concrete and sustainable asphalt standards for Land Port of Entry projects funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This groundbreaking effort may include requiring Environmental Product Declarations (disclosing lifecycle impacts) and the use of concrete with at least 20% lower global warming potential, whenever available.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is announcing new efforts to support use of low-carbon materials in federal transportation projects. A new pilot program will target key products and services to increase use of Environmental Product Declarations and incentivize acquisition of low-carbon materials. Additionally, DOT is standing up a Department-wide Embodied Carbon Working Group to assess and implement actions to reduce lifecycle emissions of construction materials used in transportation infrastructure.
The Administration is also bringing together large corporate purchasers to Buy Clean. At COP26, President Biden launched the First Movers Coalition, with 34 companies valued at $6 trillion—the biggest demand signal in history for innovation across hard-to-abate sectors, including heavy industry. Led by the State Department through the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and the World Economic Forum, and supported by the Departments of Commerce and Energy, the First Movers Coalition is making clean purchasing commitments, beginning with steel, shipping, trucking, and aviation. Today, the Administration is announcing plans to expand the First Movers Coalition to cover four additional sectors in 2022: aluminum, cement, chemicals, and carbon removal.
The Administration is also mobilizing investment in the production of clean technologies by the Department of Energy, including the Loan Programs Office, the Department of Commerce, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, as well as through a partnership between the First Movers Coalition and the Breakthrough Energy Catalyst. The First Movers Coalition will recruit additional companies and launch challenge competitions for suppliers to provide the breakthrough technologies that members have committed to purchase.
Using Trade Policy to Reward Clean Manufacturing
In October, the United States and the European Union announced their commitment to negotiate the world’s first emissions-based sectoral arrangement on steel and aluminum trade by 2024. Following on that announcement, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and senior White House officials are continuing to work with European Union counterparts on this unprecedented effort—never before have two global partners aligned their trade policies to confront the threats of climate change and global market distortions, ensuring that trade works to solve the challenges of the 21st century.
Together, the United States and European Union are working to restrict access to their markets for dirty steel and limit access to countries that dump steel in both markets, contributing to worldwide over-supply. The arrangement will be open to any interested country that wishes to join and meets criteria for restoring market orientation and reducing trade in high-emissions steel and aluminum products. It will thus drive investment in green steel and aluminum production in the United States, Europe, and around the world, ensuring a competitive U.S. steel and aluminum industry for decades to come.
Responsibly Advancing CCUS Technologies
Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS) refers to technologies that remove carbon pollution from point sources like smokestacks, or from the ambient air, and permanently store the carbon. In factories, CCUS can reduce emissions from chemical reactions and high-temperature processes that are difficult and expensive to electrify. The best scientific analyses also find that to achieve a net-zero economy, we will need to remove carbon pollution that has already been released in the atmosphere. While CCUS can be an important tool in tackling the climate crisis, the benefits and impacts of potential projects vary significantly—requiring careful planning and oversight to ensure deployment is safe, equitable, and environmentally sound.
To help federal agencies advance CCUS responsibly, today the Council on Environmental Quality is issuing CCUS guidance. This guidance, called for in the bipartisan USE IT Act, builds on CEQ’s June 2021 CCUS report and addresses issues including:
Sound and transparent environmental reviews for CCUS projects
Incorporation of environmental justice and equity considerations to protect overburdened communities from any direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts
Meaningful public engagement and Tribal consultations from early in the process
Opportunities to create good-paying, union jobs and training programs
Life cycle analyses of carbon capture and utilization (CCU) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) projects
As agencies prepare to implement more than $12 billion in CCUS investments provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this guidance will promote projects informed by community perspectives and aligned with climate, public health, and economic goals.
To further support responsible deployment:
The Environmental Protection Agency is developing proposed rule revisions to strengthen the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program to improve transparency on CCUS activities. This Program collects and publishes annual greenhouse gas data from large industrial sources, and the proposed updates would add reporting requirements for direct air capture and carbon storage.
To train a racially diverse, highly skilled generation of engineers and scientists for carbon management roles, DOE is announcing $5 million for university training and research projects, including $2 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
The Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council and its member agencies are working together to facilitate collaborative CCUS project reviews.
The Department of the Interior is working to establish safeguards for geologic sequestration on federally managed lands and is developing new regulations for geologic sequestration in the outer continental shelf as required under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Supporting Equitable Innovation Across the Industrial Sector
Supporting the industrial sector to achieve net-zero emissions will provide benefits to communities across the country. To ensure that innovations in this sector meet the needs of diverse stakeholders, the Administration is launching a new Initiative for Interdisciplinary Industrial Decarbonization Research. Led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), this Initiative will bring together social scientists, engineering and physical scientists, community groups, industry, government, and other stakeholders. As a first step, OSTP is convening a workshop to get advice from social science thought leaders about the research agenda needed to support rapid, widespread industrial decarbonization. This research will help build the consensus necessary to ensure a just transition to clean industry, with new, good-paying jobs for American workers and health and economic benefits for communities.
To identify and catalyze the next generation of breakthroughs, DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office is launching the Industrial Technology Innovation Advisory Committee (ITIAC). This federal advisory committee will bring together a diverse cross-section of the industrial sector to find viable decarbonization pathways that will equitably benefit the industrial workforce and surrounding communities. DOE has also issued a Request for Information on Industrial Decarbonization. This RFI will provide insights on emerging technologies for industry to demonstrate or adopt, including for clean production of iron and steel, cement, chemicals, and food and beverages. The Advanced Manufacturing Office will use this information to shape priorities for reducing industrial emissions and increasing competitiveness.
Additionally, DOE is helping manufacturers optimize use of energy and materials while training the workforce of the future through its Industrial Assessment Centers—which provide no-cost energy assessments conducted by university-based teams of engineering students and faculty. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE will expand the Industrial Assessment Centers program by offering specialized training to staff and students and increasing access to innovation and workforce development opportunities, particularly in disadvantaged communities. These actions build on a year of progress—in 2021, DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office invested more than $332 million in industrial technical assistance, education and workforce development, and R&D at every stage of the supply chain.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also partnering with manufacturers through the ENERGY STAR program, which challenges and supports industrial plants in improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. EPA is now expanding ENERGY STAR by incorporating carbon intensity metrics for certain industries. Going forward, EPA will continue to increase ENERGY STAR’s focus on ambitious emissions reductions that support net-zero goals across the industrial sector.
On National Energy Assistance Day, White House Coordinates Outreach and Encourages Families to Enroll in Assistance Programs
The White House is joining states, localities, advocacy groups, and utilities in encouraging American families to apply for programs that can help hard-pressed families address home energy costs. These resources include the record funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provided by the Biden-Harris Administration this year and funds to reduce home energy costs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In addition to outreach efforts across the Administration, the White House also announced information encouraging states to use all available American Rescue Plan resources for energy assistance and funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to reduce home energy costs.
Funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Are Building on the American Rescue Plan’s Investment That More Than Doubled LIHEAP Funding: The Biden-Harris Administration has delivered nearly $8 billion in LIHEAP funding nationally, more than doubling typical annual appropriations—thanks to an additional $4.5 billion provided by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Earlier this month, the White House announced state-by-state breakdown of this funding (see below for total awards to date by state/territory). Last week, the Administration also distributed the first $100 million installment of a five-year, $500 million investment in LIHEAP provided by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These funds represent the largest investment in a single year since the program was established in 1981. These resources are already allowing states across the country to provide more home energy relief to low income Americans than ever before.
The American Rescue Plan Provided Additional Historic Resources for Utility Relief Including the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program and State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund: The American Rescue Plan provided other critical resources that states and localities can use to address home energy costs. ERA programs, which received an additional $21.5 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan, can provide help with past-due utility bills or ongoing assistance with energy costs to help distressed renters avoid shut-offs and keep current on expenses. State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds can also be deployed to help deliver energy relief to families.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Made Historic Investments to Reduce Home Energy Costs: The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invested a historic $3.5 billion in the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, reducing energy costs for hundreds of thousands of low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes.
The Administration is announcing the following:
Outreach in Support of National Energy Assistance Day: Today, the Department of Health and Human Services released a radio announcement in English and Spanish and a video to encourage families to apply for LIHEAP. The radio announcement will air over 2,000 times and reach an estimated 36 million listeners. Yesterday, the Department also released a Dear Colleague Letter to LIHEAP Administrators encouraging their participation in National Energy Assistance Day. Other agencies across the Administration are also celebrating National Energy Awareness Day by disseminating information about assistance programs, including LIHEAP and ERA. The White House also coordinated outreach to state and local elected officials as well as other stakeholders.
Information on Using the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund for Utility Assistance: The American Rescue Plan created a $1 billion fund for states, territories and tribes that is available to provide cash or targeted assistance to needy families. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services released a brief on how to use these funds to respond to winter utility needs.
Significant Support Distributed Through American Rescue Plan Housing Programs: As of the end of 2021, well over $25 billion of funds have been obligated to assist households across the country through the ERA program, which provides both rental and utility assistance to households in need. Treasury continues to promote best practices such as avoiding shut-offs for eligible households and allowing self-attestation to document substantial increases in home heating or other utility costs to support eligibility. Treasury is also working with states and Tribes to distribute $9.8 billion in funding for the Homeowners Assistance Fund, with a majority of approved plans including utility assistance to homeowners in need.
Best Practices on Coordination with Utility Providers: Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department hosted a webinar with over 700 utility assistance program administrators and utility providers from across the country to discuss how programs including LIHEAP and ERA can coordinate with utility providers to increase the efficiency and reach of their programs. Panelists from across the country shared their perspectives on effective coordination between utility assistance administrators and utility providers and highlighted a range of best practices.
Today’s announcements build on the Administration’s previous actions to ensure these historic resources are distributed swiftly and equitably:
Secured Commitments from Utilities to Avoid Shut-offs and Expedite Aid: The White House has called on utility companies to prevent devastating utility shut-offs and help expedite the delivery of unprecedented federal aid. In January, the White House announced that it has already welcomed commitments from fourteen major utility companies across the country, including Atlantic City Electric, Baltimore Gas and Electric, ComEd, Delmarva Power, DTE Energy, Eversource, Green Mountain Power, National Grid, NorthWestern Energy, Pacific Gas & Electric, PECO, Pepco, Portland General Electric and Vermont Gas, as well as the delivered fuel trade association NEFI.
Called for Coordination of LIHEAP and Emergency Rental Assistance Relief to Families: To maximize the impact of home energy assistance, the White House called for states, localities, and tribes to coordinate across programs including LIHEAP and ERA. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department have issued guidance and co-hosted webinars on LIHEAP and ERA best practices that attracted 500 administrators – collectively representing 47 states, the District of Columbia, and 72 Tribal governments. More than 50 percent of these administrators now report they are coordinating across these programs.
Households in need of help with their energy bills can identify resources in their area at EnergyHelp.us or call the National Energy Assistance Referral hotline at 1-866-674-6327.
On the occasion of President Joe Biden’s address to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, January 21, the White House issued a fact sheet detailing some of the ways the Biden-Harris Administration is working with Mayors to deliver for communities across the country, and what passing the Build Back Better agenda could mean:
Getting Shots in Arms and Saving Lives Since the start of his Administration, President Biden has prioritized local partnerships and has worked closely with mayors across the country who have been instrumental as trusted sources of information about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines.
Working with local governments, the Administration has shipped over 160 million pieces of personal protective equipment – gloves, gowns, masks – to protect frontline health care workers in cities across the United States. Since first launching surge response teams on July 1st, the Administration has deployed over 3,000 personnel to 39 states and 4 U.S. territories. The Administration also recently worked with several mayors and local jurisdictions to surge federal testing support and federal test sites to several cities.
Over 115 mayors across the country joined the White House, HHS, and We Can Do This campaign to launch a Mayors Challenge to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations. This campaign was instrumental in increasing the adult vaccination rate through mayors sharing best practices and launching innovative efforts to boost vaccinations, including grassroots outreach, mobile and neighborhood vaccine clinics, incentives, prizes, and other efforts.
Richmond, VA Mayor Levar Stoney as co-lead of the Mayors Challenge, launched the #HotVaccinatedSummer campaign with the Richmond Health Department focused on taking the vaccine to residents through mobile vaccination units, pop-up vaccine sites at grocery stores, food pantries, apartment complexes, and churches, and neighborhood block parties.
Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, mayors of Louisiana’s two largest cities, launched a month-long, inter-city “New Orleans vs Baton Rouge COVID challenge” to motivate citizens to get vaccinated.
Detroit, MI Mayor Mike Duggan launched an innovative “Good Neighbor Program” where residents received gift cards for driving their neighbors to get vaccinated, as well as a door-to-door vaccination education canvassing effort.
San Antonio, TX Mayor Ron Nirenberg along with making pop-up vaccine clinics accessible, collaborated with local artists to create murals reminding residents of the importance of getting vaccinated.
Getting People Back to Work President Biden has grown the economy faster than any first-year administration ever with 6.4 million jobs added, the most in one year on record. The unemployment rate is 3.9% – four years faster than projected because of the American Rescue Plan. The Biden-Harris agenda has provided substantial resources to state and local governments to expand and improve America’s workforce development system so that workers of all kinds from diverse communities will be prepared and successful in good-paying union jobs.
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) included $350 billion in state and local fiscal recovery funds that governments can use to assist workers who want and are available to work – including job training, public jobs programs, job fairs, childcare, transportation, hiring bonuses, and subsidized employment efforts). The ARP also invested $3 billion in the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to assist communities in their efforts to build back better from the pandemic, including $1 billion for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge and $500 million for a Good Jobs Challenge that will support sector partnerships that bring employers, unions, non-profits, community colleges, training providers, and local governments together to enhance local training and hiring efforts.
Building Bridges to Infrastructure Jobs:
Washington, DC is using ARP resources to expand the city’s Infrastructure Academy to ensure a diverse workforce is ready to fill the infrastructure jobs that will be created by the historic bipartisan infrastructure law.
Milwaukee, WI has dedicated ARP funds to launch a lead abatement workforce development program and an Earn and Learn program which assists young people entering manufacturing and other high-skill jobs.
Phoenix, AZ is using Rescue Plan funds to partner with local community colleges and the private sector on job training programs that not only will re-skill and re-employ individuals for new careers in high demand workforce areas, such as manufacturing, construction, and the region’s emerging semiconductor industry.
Supporting our Essential Education Workers:
Seattle, WA used ARP fiscal recovery funds to provide premium pay for local child care workers, up to $835 per worker who have been there for at least 6 months.
Bolstering our Health Care Workforce:
Chicago, IL is leveraging ARP funds to build a 2,200 public health workforce working as vaccine ambassadors and addressing vaccine resistance.
New York City is dedicating ARP funds to bolster their public health workforce through the New York City Public Health Corps program, which will focus on a range of public health needs – from vaccine access, to primary care, to mental health counseling.
Building a Better America Since President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden-Harris Administration has hit the ground running with a focus on fostering strong partnerships and working with mayors to implement the largest long-term investment in America’s infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will rebuild crumbling road and bridges, replace lead pipes, help provide high-speed internet to every family in America, and produce concrete results that change people’s lives for the better. These results will create good-paying, union jobs, support domestic manufacturing and supply chains, and position the United States to win the 21st century. As the Administration implements the law, it 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. Since the enactment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden Administration has it the ground running. Some of the key actions since the law’s passage include:
Understanding the importance of strong partnership with local governments to deliver results on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the White House appointed Mitch Landrieu, former Mayor of New Orleans and former President of the US Conference of Mayors, as Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced $27 billion in funding to replace, repair, and rehabilitate bridges across the country over the next five years, including many locally-owned “off system” bridges.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will invest more than $14 billion of funding for over 500 projects across 52 states and territories. These key projects will strengthen the nation’s supply chain, provide significant new economic opportunities nationwide, and bolster our defenses against climate change.
USDOT awarded $1 billion in Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants to invest in 90 major projects across 47 states funding that will be boosted by an additional $7.5 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at USDOT announced $3 billion for 3,075 airports across the country that can use investments to upgrade critical infrastructure.
The Vice President announced the Administration’s Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan, which includes action items focused on collaboration with local partners to accelerate the replacement of lead pipes over the next decade. As part of this plan, EPA announced $7.4 billion in funding allocations for states to upgrade America’s aging water infrastructure, sewerage systems, pipes and service lines, and more.
The Federal Communications Commission launched the Affordable Connectivity Program providing broadband subsidies of up to $30/month for low-income households (up to $75/month for households on Tribal Lands) and up to $100 towards the purchase of a desktop, laptop or tablet computer.
EPA announced $1 billion in funding to clean up 49 Superfund sites across 24 states to accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country, stop toxic waste from harming communities, and create good-paying jobs.
The Department of the Interior released initial guidance for the states interested in applying for funding to cap and plug orphaned oil and gas wells that reduce methane emissions and create jobs, with 26 states expressing interest in a portion of the $4.7 billion in funding for well plugging, remediation and restoration available in infrastructure programs.
The Department of Energy launched a new Building a Better Grid initiative to accelerate the deployment of new transition lines, and it released a notice of intent to inform the design and implementation of this historic investment.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes billions of dollars in competitive funding available to cities, towns, and municipalities across dozens of new and existing programs. As local governments begin to rebuild and reinvest in their communities, the Biden-Harris Administration stands ready to support local leaders as they combine funding streams, organize around their priorities, and build local support for long overdue infrastructure projects. The White House released a fact sheet highlights 25 already available or soon-to-be-available sources of funding that local governments – particularly cities – can compete or apply for directly. The White House will also be releasing a comprehensive guidebook of all available funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in the coming weeks.
Addressing Supply Chain Blockages As our economy has turned back on from the unprecedented shutdown resulting from the pandemic, our supply chains have been strained. The Administration is working closely with mayors and local governments across the country to mitigate supply chain blockages and ensure shelves are stocked.
The Administration’s port envoy has held weekly meetings with city-owned ports, including the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, to identify ways to reduce congestion and move toward 24/7 operations, which reduces the emissions and traffic in communities.
The Department of Transportation awarded more than $241 million in discretionary grants to improve ports facilities and address supply chain disruptions in 19 cities, including Houston, TX; Brunswick, GA; Bay St Louis, MS; Tell City, IN; Alpena, MI; Delcambre, LA; Oakland, CA; Portsmouth, VA; Tacoma, WA; and Long Beach, CA.
The Administration is working to help schools experiencing challenges purchasing and reliably obtaining food for their meal plans. USDA has committed $1.5 billion for schools and states to purchase foods including funding to purchase local foods from historically underserved producers and announced an adjustment in school meal reimbursements that put an estimated $750 million more into school meal programs across the nation this year.
Advancing Local Climate Action On Day One, President Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement, reestablished U.S. leadership, and renewed the federal government’s partnership with the states, cities, Tribes, and localities that carried forward America’s progress on climate. Since then, President Biden has deployed clean wind and solar energy across the country, jumpstarted an electric vehicle future that will be built in America, advanced environmental justice in underserved communities, and taken aggressive action to make our country more resilient to climate change and extreme weather.
Today, President Biden will announce how the Biden-Harris Administration is teaming up with states, cities, labor, and industry to launch the Building Performance Standards Coalition, a first-of-its-kind partnership between 33 state and local governments dedicated to delivering cleaner, healthier, and more affordable buildings. States and cities part of the coalition will design and implement building performance standards that create good paying union jobs, lower the cost of energy bills for consumers, keep residents and workers safe from harmful pollution, and cut emissions from the building sector.
The Administration is also empowering local leaders to advance climate solutions across other sectors—for example:
The Department of Energy set a new National Community Solar Partnership target of powering 5 million homes by 2025, with on-demand technical assistance available to local governments, and launched the SolarAPP+ tool to help them speed up permitting of rooftop solar installations.
The Department of Transportation announced $182 million in grants for transit agencies to deploy zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including awards to the Chicago Transit Authority; Anaheim, CA; Fort Collins, CO; Lawrence, KS; Jackson, MS; Fayetteville, NC; Lincoln, NE; Norman, OK; and more.
The EPA announced $50 million for environmental justice initiatives using ARP funds, including water infrastructure job training in Baltimore, MD; indoor air quality improvements in Fort Collins, CO; and outreach on asthma and environmental hazards in Hartford, CT.
FEMA announced $1 billion for the FY2021 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, available for cities and other levels of government to proactively invest in community resilience to hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters.
In November 2021, President Biden and 15 bipartisan mayors representing communities across the country participated in COP26, where the President announced bold plans to reduce methane emissions, create clean energy jobs, and build back better with infrastructure initiatives that advance prosperity and combat the climate crisis.
Addressing Gun Violence and Crime During the President’s first year in office, the Biden-Harris Administration has partnered with mayors across the country on actions to reduce gun violence and has provided historic levels of funding for community-oriented policing and expanding community violence interventions (CVI) – neighborhood-based programs proven to combat gun violence. The Administration has made historic levels of funding from the American Rescue Plan – including $350 billion in state and local funding – available to state and local governments for law enforcement purposes to advance community policing strategies and community violence interventions.
Working with 16-jurisdictions, the White House launched the Community Violence Intervention Collaborative, a cohort of mayors, law enforcement, CVI experts and philanthropic organizations committed to using ARP funding to increase investment in their community violence intervention infrastructure and share best practices.
Cities including Milwaukee, WI; Albuquerque, NM; Syracuse, NY; and Mobile, AL responded to the President’s call by committing and deploying ARP funds for advancing community-oriented policing.
Mayors from cities across the country including Seattle, WA; Buffalo, NY; and Atlanta, GA have committed to deploy ARP fund for community violence interventions following a memo from Senior White House advisors on how state and local officials can implement ARP funding into CVI work.
Cities across the country including St. Louis, MO and Tucson, AZ committed to investing ARP funding in public safety strategies such as summer jobs for young adults and substance abuse and mental health services.
Prevent Housing Instability and Homelessness During the President’s first year in office, the Biden-Harris Administration partnered with mayors across the country to keep Americans housed. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) included over $21 billion for the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program. These funds, together with $25 billion signed into law under the previous Administration but implemented under this Administration, enabled households to catch up on rent and avoid evictions. State and local grantees obligated over $25 billion in ERA in 2021, and these funds contributed to a historically low eviction filing rate. Also included within ARP were $5 billion in supplemental funding for HOME, which enables state and local governments to create and preserve affordable housing, and $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers to help people experiencing and at risk of homelessness secure housing.
In June, 46 cities joined the White House to create eviction prevention action plans as part of a first-of-its-kind summit. More than 100 eviction diversion programs were created or expanded as part of this partnership with the White House and local leaders.
Mayors from Louisville, Milwaukee, San Antonio, and Boston shared best practices in subsequent White House events including strategies to prevent evictions and distribute rental assistance to renters and landlords in need.
Dozens of mayors have signed onto House America, a federal initiative aimed at maximizing the ARP resources to address homelessness. The goal of this initiative is to cumulatively re-house 100,000 households experiencing homelessness and add 20,000 new units of affordable housing into the development pipeline by the end of 2022.
Building an Orderly, Fair, and Humane Immigration System The Biden-Harris Administration is working to build a humane, orderly, and fair 21st century immigration system at the border and beyond. One that invests in smart technology and infrastructure at the border, that prioritizes our resources and values immigrants living in our country and contributing to our communities for generations, and that once again welcomes refugees and is a beacon of light for those seeking safe haven.
Since day one, the Biden-Harris Administration took steps to undo the wrongdoings of the previous Administration, including getting rid of the Muslim ban, taking steps to protect DACA recipients, and restoring our asylum system. On day one, President Biden also sent his immigration bill to Congress – The U.S. Citizenship Act – which laid out the components needed to build an updated immigration system that reflects our values and responds to our hemisphere’s current needs.
Working with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State and non-profit organizations in Mexico and the United States, the Administration assisted 13,000 people in the wind down of the Migrant Protection Protocol to fight their cases in the United States. The Administration also designated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haiti, Venezuela, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and Burma, and expanded to El Salvador and Honduras.
The President tasked Vice President Harris with leading efforts to address the root causes of migration from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The Vice President announced $310 million in urgent humanitarian relief in April 2021, in addition to the President’s FY22 budget request for $861 million for Central America. The Vice President also secured $1.2 billion from the private sector to create job programs and invest in the economic stability and prosperity for our partner countries. In addition to the work the Vice President is leading, the Administration is working with countries in South America and leaders in the hemisphere to address migration as a regional issue that necessitates regional leadership and a regional response.
The Administration remains committed to immigration reform, to restoring asylum, and to working with partners to ensure the safety, security, and dignity of immigrants in the region:
Engaged mayors and cities to amplify the broad sweeping impact President Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act would have on all 11 million undocumented immigrants, including farm workers and individuals with Temporary Protected Status.
Partnered with cities including San Diego, Long Beach, Pomona, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio to stand up Emergency Influx Sites to provide temporary shelter and care for thousands of unaccompanied children.
Awarded $110 million in supplemental humanitarian funding to the National Board for Emergency Food and Shelter Program eligible to cities and services providers providing humanitarian assistance to migrants at the southern border.
Regularly engaged bipartisan border mayors to discuss and coordinate rebuilding America’s border management and asylum systems that were previously gutted by the prior administration. Additionally, engaged local elected leaders in the Rio Grande Valley, San Diego, and El Centro border sectors to protect border communities from the physical dangers resulting from the previous administration’s approach to border wall construction.
Welcoming Refugees and Resettlement Efforts The Biden-Harris Administration has taken a whole-of-America approach to safely, securely, and effectively welcome more than 76,000 Afghan allies to the United States through the Operation Allies Welcome.
In close coordination with Departments and Agencies across the Federal government, the Administration has worked with state and local officials; refugee resettlement organizations; veterans; faith, private sector, and non-profit leaders to ensure Afghans are set up for success in their new communities. The White House Operation Allies Welcome team provided briefings to USCM and visited resettlement sites in six states to engage with local officials and stakeholders on the frontlines of welcoming our Afghan allies. In his capacity as OAW Coordinator, Jack Markell attended the 2021 USCM Summer Meeting in Dayton, Ohio to brief mayors on their important role in the resettlement effort.
USCM Past President Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin led the effort for USCM’s resolution in support of Afghan resettlement and welcomed briefings from senior Administration officials to keep mayors updated on resettlement efforts
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner worked with local resettlement agencies to raise more than $8.5 million dollars for the Houston Afghan Resettlement Fund (HARF) to help the local resettlement agencies provide additional services for Afghan evacuees
Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt collaborated with the local resettlement agency to identify additional funding stream to for affordable housing for Afghan evacuees
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor worked with the local school district to ensure a warm welcome to arriving Afghans students and families.
Sacramento Mayor Darryl Steinberg coordinated with state, county, and local leaders to create a new coalition called the American Network of Services for Afghanistan Refugees (ANSAR) to assist in meeting the needs of Afghan families.
In addition to President Biden, ten members of the President’s Cabinet spoke at the USCM Winter Meeting, including Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and EPA Administrator Regan. Senior Administration officials including ARP Coordinator Gene Sperling, Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu, and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Julie Rodriguez will also speak at the event.
On January 21, President Biden addressed over 200 bipartisan mayors during their annual U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Winter Meeting. This was the President’s first time addressing the entire USCM since taking office. At this year’s convening, the President highlighted the strong partnership between his Administration and mayors during the past year to tackle unprecedented crises, rebuild the economy, and deliver results for working families. The President also discussed ways to further partner with cities on implementing the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the importance of passing the Build Back Better Act.
Here is an edited transcript of President Biden’s remarks:
Mayors carry the quality of the people’s lives on your shoulders.
Everything you do every day affects their lives more than almost anything anybody else does. And you can make or break a person’s day. “Will the bus get me home on time?” It sounds silly but, “Will the garbage get be picked up?” “Will I be safe walking in the park?”
These are the bigger questions: “Can I afford to give my family a good life?” “Will my kids have a chance to get a good job someday?” “How will I rebuild from the fire or the storm?”
You know, all of these questions, they’re not partisan, but they’re practical. People they look to are you…
That’s why, when I put together my Cabinet, I called on former mayors –Tom Vilsack was a governor; he was also a mayor. Marcia Fudge, a mayor. Marty Walsh a mayor in Boston. Pete Buttigieg was a mayor. And I picked Mitch Landrieu to oversee the implementation of the infrastructure law, which is over a $1.2 trillion, because he knows how mayors get things done. (Applause.) .. Because mayors know the measure of success isn’t scoring partisan points, it’s did you fix the problem…
The infrastructure law is a perfect example of what we can achieve when we tackle problems the way mayors do. Everybody in America knows we’ve fallen behind on infrastructure. So we came together — Democrats and Republicans — and did something about it…
And, by the way, I want to thank you all. More than 360 of you signed a letter that was sent to me when we were trying to get this legislation passed. Three hundred and sixty of you. You lobbied Congress to get it done, and it’s the reason it got done…
And now, after years of dead-ends and broken promises, not only has “Infrastructure Week” finally arrived — (applause) — but we can literally, because of you, look forward to an “Infrastructure Decade.”…
We’ve announced billions of dollars for highways, ports, airports, water and sewage systems, high-speed Internet; funding to clean up the rivers in Ohio, chemical plants and sites in Florida, polluted lakes in Michigan and dozens of other sites; a new program to cap and plug orphaned oil and gas wells spewing methane into the air, cleaning up the communities that, in fact, they’re affecting, while [creating] good-paying jobs…
A new initiative to bolster our energy grid with stronger transmission lines and towers to keep the power flowing more reliably and, consequentially, more secure energy supply…
You know, more forest, homes, buildings, and businesses have been burned to the ground than make up — if you’re taking the square miles — than the entire state of New Jersey, from New York all the way down to Cape Henlopen. That’s how much has burned to the ground. A lot of it because of the lack of resilience in those towers that get blown over and the wires snap…
Last week, we rolled out a historic investments in our nation’s bridges, like the one I visited in New Hampshire, where restrictions forced school buses and fire trucks to go 10 miles out of their way just to get across a small river…
We’re going to upgrade thousands of bridges, creating good-paying jobs, cutting commute times, ensuring that as we build back, no community gets left behind.
Folks, that mayor’s view of problem-solving is exactly what we brought to the American Rescue Plan. It’s designed so that you’d be able to have the resources and the flexibility to take both the short-term and long-term challenges created by this pandemic. A major part of the Rescue Plan was the $350 billion we allocated to state and local budgets. And again, because of you, over $100 billion of that went directly to cities and counties, not through anybody. (Applause.) A hundred billion.
It was not easy to get done, but it was important to get done because you know it’s needed. You didn’t have to go through your state legislature — or your governor – to get the money.
Today, communities are still putting those funds to work — keeping people on the job, connecting people to better jobs…
Use your funds to cover childcare costs or temporary paid leave to help certain workers dealing with Omicron; to build pathways to better jobs through union-based apprenticeships and on-the-job training; to give people in every ZIP code a chance to deal for themselves and deal them into this booming economy.
That also means building more affordable housing so people can have safe places closer to their jobs.
Funding proven programs to help fight violent crime. We shouldn’t be cutting funding for police departments. I proposed increasing funding…
The truth is we have an incredible opportunity ahead of us this year. We still have a lot of work to do to defeat COVID, to bring down costs for families.
But just look at what we’ve accomplished together so far, even in the face of those headwinds.
In 2021, more jobs are created in America than ever in a single year in American history. More jobs — over 6 million. The unemployment rate dropped more than any year in American history. (Applause.)
Income — incomes for folks working frontline jobs in service industries rose more than any year in history — the folks at the bottom of the economic rung.
We lowered child poverty in this country by nearly 40 percent — more than any time in U.S. history. (Applause.)
You all know this: Business applications grew by nearly 30 percent last year — more than any year in history. If they’re saying everything is so bad, why are people fighting to open businesses?
More Americans gained health insurance than any year in history.
These are facts.
To confront the climate crisis, we deployed more solar wind, batteries, and electric vehicles than ever, ever before.
And we’re teaming up with mayors, labor, and industry to save families and businesses money by improving energy efficiency in our buildings.
And in the battle against the deadly virus, we’ve gone from putting 2 million shots — vaccinations – in people’s arms to 210 million Americans fully vaccinated. (Applause.)
And you mayors have been critical partners…
And we still face tremendous challenges, though. But together, we’ve proven that we can get big things done in this country.
Last year, with your help, we laid the groundwork. This year, we have to build it. The biggest weapon in our arsenal is the Build Back Better Act. Nothing is going to do more to ease pressure on families…
Every mayor knows if people can’t find and afford childcare, they can’t work. (Applause.) Some of your cities, it’s 14-, 15,000 bucks a year for childcare. That’s why we have nearly 1.2 million extremely qualified women who haven’t been able to return to the workforce.
We can cut the cost of childcare in half and fix that problem.
Health insurance: We can reduce the cost for families — and we’ve done for $600 per year.
On climate: Extreme weather disasters cost communities $145 billion last year. That’s how much we spent because of weather-related crises. $145 billion. By investing in resilience and clean energy technology, we can do something about that.
To give relief to families, in the American Rescue Plan we had the Childcare Tax Credit. That did reduce child poverty by 40 percent. There’s no reason it shouldn’t continue. (Applause.)
And on education — on education: Today, about half of the three- and four-year-olds are enrolled in early childhood education…
We can do this and more on healthcare, nutrition, and a host of other issues.
And, folks, here’s the point: We can do it without increasing inflation or the deficit.
Seventeen Nobel laureates in economics wrote a letter to me recently, affirming that this bill would reduce inflationary pressures on the economy, not increase — reduce it. (Applause.)
And by the way — by the way, it’s entirely paid for. (Applause.) Every single penny. (Applause.) And not a single person making less than $400,000 a year will pay a single additional penny in federal taxes. Not a single penny. (Applause.)
And, by the way, I’m a capitalist. I’m not a socialist. If you can make $1 billion or $10 million, good for you. Just begin to pay your fair share. Pay a little bit. (Applause.)
We can pay for all this by just making sure that the wealthy — making sure that the wealthy and the biggest corporations pay their fair share…
Look, we can tackle all these challenges just like we did with the Rescue Plan, the infrastructure law, and the fight against COVID, but we can’t do it without you…
You understand the cost if we fail to act. We need the voice of mayors telling the stories of what your communities need, and the impact we’re making on people’s lives or not making. If we can get this done — I believe this with every fiber of my being: If we can get this done, there’s no limit what Americans can achieve. So, let’s continue to give working families a fighting chance.