How the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will impact American Samoa
In November, President Joe Biden (D) signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The act, which received bipartisan support in Congress, allocates $550 billion into improving public transit systems, railways, water, roads, bridges, and broadband access. After years of failed attempts to pass major infrastructure legislation, the act is a notable achievement. President Biden has stated that the bill will change millions of American lives for the better in coming years, saying “So my message to the American people is this: America is moving again, and your life is going to change for the better.”
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has many potential implications for the United States territories. In American Samoa, the act aims to “create a generation of good-paying jobs and economic growth” through heavy investment in the territory’s core infrastructure. It allocates funding to repair and rebuild Samoan roads and bridges with a heightened focus on climate change resilience. The bill promises approximately $24 million over 5 years to make improvements to Samoan roads and bridges, a 14% increase from typical federal funding. Approximately $7 million dollars will also go into car crash prevention and highway safety projects on the islands. With the new funding, American Samoa will be able to create modernized data organization systems that will allow authorities to examine reported crashes and enhance citizens’ safety. The new legislation also commits $6.3 million over the next five years for infrastructure development for American Samoa’s airports. This is part of President Biden’s plan to improve the nation’s airports to be more infrastructurally competitive with those of other countries.
Under the act, American Samoa will be eligible for a number of federal grant programs to support the construction of new infrastructure. Some of these grants, including the No Emissions Bus Program, are crafted with special regulations to prevent pollution and carbon emissions. This is especially significant to American Samoa because of its location in the Pacific Ocean.
The undertaking of new projects to upgrade American Samoa’s infrastructure will boost the local economy by providing a means of employment. The climate-conscious regulations will ensure that Samoan wildlife and nature are not harmed. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has the potential to create a strong impact in American Samoa through plentiful investment in roads and bridges, safety, air travel, and ultimately the territory’s citizens.