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Utah netted $3.2 billion in federal funding. Where is it going?

See how much the federal government has allocated for natural resources, transportation, water improvements and internet access across the state, two years since this legislation was signed into law.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Electric buses for the Ogden Express bus rapid transit line on Aug. 2, 2023. To date, Utah has secured $253 million of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for public transit improvements, like replacing old buses with electric and natural gas-powered ones.

Two years ago today, President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, more commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), into law.

The legislation allocated $1.2 trillion in funding over the next decade, including $550 billion in new spending. This funding went toward infrastructure — like rebuilding the United States’ roads, public transit, airports, bridges and rail — as well as internet access, clean water, electric grid renewal and other projects aimed at confronting the climate crisis.

As of Oct. 31, 2023, the White House has announced $3.2 billion in BIL funding for Utah for more than 200 projects. This money includes $2.1 billion for transportation, $577 million for water projects and $317 million for high-speed internet access.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney negotiated the Senate’s version of the legislation with a bipartisan group of lawmakers back in 2021.

“This is legislation which represents a historic investment that delivers for Utah — without raising taxes and adding to the national debt,” Romney said in a statement at the time.

Romney promised $3 billion for Utah’s roads and highways back in 2021, almost a billion dollars more than what the state has secured to date.

The Republican senator also said the BIL would authorize $219 million for Utah’s water revolving funds over five years. To date, Utah’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund has received $21.5 million.

So far, Utah’s $3.2 billion in BIL funding trails behind many of its neighbors.

Arizona secured $6.5 billion, Colorado $5.6 billion, New Mexico $4.3 billion and Wyoming $3.9 billion.

Nevada ties with Utah with $3.2 billion in funding, while Idaho netted just $2.5 billion.

Take a look at what BIL funding has accomplished in Utah so far, from sprawling statewide projects to impactful local initiatives.

Transportation

Utah secured $1.7 billion for improving its roads and bridges, the largest amount of BIL funding for any sector in the state,

The state has also received $253 million for public transit improvements.

From 2021 to 2026, approximately $665 million total of BIL funding will be allocated to improving public transportation across Utah, where the White House reports that 21% of the state’s transit vehicles are outdated.

Natural resources

So far, the Department of the Interior has announced $465 million total for Utah, according to an analysis by the Center for Western Priorities, a nonpartisan conservation advocacy organization.

The same analysis shows that Utah’s national parks have been awarded $4.2 million in BIL funding to date.

  • $3.6 million for projects in Zion National Park, like the Virgin River Fish Passage Initiative, which works to restore the upper watershed of the Virgin River for fish migration

  • $1.3 million for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the Bureau of Land Management’s Moab Field Office to plug orphaned oil and gas wells

  • $495,000 for the Canyonlands National Park Orphaned Wells Project

  • $110,000 for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

The White House has touted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as providing the largest investment in remediating legacy pollution, like unplugged and orphaned wells, in the country’s history.

Utah has received $31.8 million for cleaning up this kind of pollution.

  • $20.8 million for reclaiming brownfield sites, which are areas contaminated by harmful pollutants that make it difficult to repurpose the site for other uses

  • $11 million total for plugging abandoned oil and gas wells

Water

The federal government has announced $577 million in BIL funding for making Utah’s water safer and cleaner, as well as for improving the state’s water infrastructure.

Energy

Utah has been awarded $51.9 million in BIL funding for energy projects so far.

Internet access

To date, state has received $317 million in BIL funding through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program.

This funding will go toward increasing internet access across the state. The White House reports that more than 41,500 homes and businesses in Utah do not have access to reliable, high-speed internet.

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