City of Gary Mayor Jerome A. Prince joined dozens of mayors, governors, members of Congress and Vice-President Kamala Harris as President Joe Biden signed into law the massive Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Bill, H.R. 3684, became public law on November 15, 2021.
Congress, including Frank Mrvan, demonstrated what is possible when national leaders put aside party politics and focus on what’s best for the nation, Mayor Prince said.
“It was an honor to witness this historic signing, but it was humbling to see first-hand how weeks and weeks of debates and arguments can finally be shaped into something that will truly move Gary and our nation forward,” he said.
“Throughout my career, I have known the incredible value of our labor unions and the Northwest Indiana workforce. Our region is also fortunate to have so many economic infrastructure assets, including the South Shore Rail Line, the Gary/Chicago International Airport, the Port of Indiana – Burns Harbor, and our roads, bridges, and waterway system.
“We have discussed the need to make desperately-needed investments in our infrastructure and broadband technology for too long. Today, we delivered.”
In Indiana, the new law will create thousands of jobs for laborers and crafts workers as they build, repair and grow the state’s infrastructure, which includes 1,111 bridges and 5,478 miles of highways.
Highlights of the new law include:
• $7 billion in federal aid for highway and bridge improvements over five years.
• $680 million over five years to improve public transportation.
• $100 million over five years to expand the state’s electric vehicle (EV) charging network.
• Investments in mitigating brown fields and alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar farms.
“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has many other welcome components that will better the lives of Hoosiers. It will help connect more to broadband, provide clean drinking water for families, upgrade our energy grid and create jobs,” Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said.
One key aspect of the law’s provisions for Indiana—investing $100 million to expand broadband coverage and to provide reliable, high-speed internet to Hoosiers—fits perfectly with his administration’s plans to invest millions of dollars in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to provide 5G service and internet literacy courses to many Gary residents, Mayor Prince said.
“That provision really excites me and my team because it helps us take Gary out of the shadow of traditional steel mills and toward becoming a true technology hub,” he said.
“All of these positives in the bill outweighed our concern of adding to the national debt. We simply couldn’t let our infrastructure further deteriorate and burden business and citizens alike. We thank Indiana Congressmen André Carson and Frank Mrvan for voting for the bill and Congressman Carson for his work on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“The Indiana Chamber will continue to voice its strong opposition to the reconciliation bill, which we deem as unnecessary and reckless. One example that could be potentially devastating is the bill substantially increases the penalty of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate violation from $14,000 to a whopping $70,000. It’s anti-business, anti-workforce and anti-American,” Prince added.
Mayor Prince also said his team will provide more details on what the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act means for Gary in the coming days.
“President Biden and Democrats are on the verge of passing a historic agenda that will improve the lives of Black Americans across the country by supporting parents in their child care needs, expanding affordable health care, education and housing, and rebuilding the backbone of this country: the middle class,” DNC spokesperson Danai Pointer said in a statement. “Thanks to President Biden and Democratic leadership, most Black parents will be able to go to work while saving on the cost of child care, their children will have access to high-quality education through an increase in the maximum Pell Grant and historic investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the seniors in their lives will have the health care they need, and our communities will reap the benefits of clean energy jobs and a healthier climate. President Biden and Democrats have continued to deliver for Black people and families and we will remind voters who stood with them to improve their lives and that Republicans stood on the sidelines.”