How the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will impact the US Virgin Islands
The November passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was the most significant long-term investment in the country’s infrastructure in nearly a century. President Joe Biden (D) has vowed that the act will “create a generation of good-paying union jobs and economic growth, and position the United States to win the 21st century.” The $550 billion piece of legislation aims to assist all corners of the nation and its territories.
Specifically, in the United States Virgin Islands, the passage presents an opportunity to address the consequences of a systemic lack of investment from the federal government. For instance, as part of the Territorial Highway Program, the US Virgin Islands would expect $95 million over five years to rebuild roads and bridges. The USVI will also receive nearly $30 million over five years to improve public transportation options.
In addition, to ensure that all residents can effectively do their jobs, participate equally in school learning, and stay connected, the act will allocate a minimum of $25 million to improve broadband service in the USVI and widen the group of people with access to high functioning technology. Furthermore, the territory will be eligible to receive more than $37 million over five years to improve water infrastructure so that clean drinking water is truly made a right amongst all residents. To help the United States catch up to international competition, in the realm of airport infrastructure and construction, the USVI would receive an additional $30 million for airport maintenance, construction, and infrastructure support.
Ultimately, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act aims to impact the people of the US Virgin Islands by providing jobs, boosting the local economy, and improving transportation, internet access, and water quality. On par with President Biden’s embrace of climate-friendly solutions, the construction of new infrastructure will be completed in a way that promotes sustainability and prepares roads, bridges, highways, and airports for the impacts of extreme weather and global warming.