How the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will impact Guam
For some time, Guam has suffered from a lack of federal investment in infrastructure. However, President Joe Biden’s (D) new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is presenting a unique opportunity to help address the issue. The act aims to modernize bridges, roads, transit, rail, ports, airports, internet broadband, drinking water, and wastewater infrastructure all across the nation and its territories. In Guam, Biden has vowed that the act will “make life better for hundreds of thousands of residents, create a generation of good-paying union jobs and economic growth and help to position the United States to win the 21st century.”
The legislation promises more than $95 million over five years to rebuild roads and bridges in Guam, through the Territorial Highway Program. The act will focus on “climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users” in the construction of new roads and bridges. Guam’s public transportation can also expect to receive a financial boost of $11 million over the next five years. Furthermore, the territory will receive a minimum allocation of $25 million to help make broadband access more widespread, including providing access for 51,000 residents. This investment is especially critical, as the FCC recently found that as many as 19% of people in Guam are not online, and 32.5% of Guam residents live in locations where there is no proper broadband infrastructure.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will also benefit Guam through its historic national investment in weatherization. Guam will also receive $2.5 million to combat cyberattacks and $30 million over five years to ensure clean drinking water for all communities. As part of President Biden’s mission to catch up to international competition in aviation infrastructure development, airports in Guam will be eligible to receive approximately $30 million over five years.
The administration expects to receive additional data on the act’s specific impact in the coming weeks. The new legislation could have a potent impact for Guam, by investing heavily in improved infrastructure, which will in turn provide more opportunities for employment and a boost to the local economy.