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News / Nation & World

Biden awards $830 million to toughen nation’s infrastructure against climate change

By ALEXA ST. JOHN, Associated Press
Published: April 11, 2024, 8:12am

DETROIT (AP) — The Biden administration on Thursday awarded $830 million in grants to fund 80 projects aimed at toughening the nation’s aging infrastructure against the harmful impacts of climate change.

The money is expected to improve bridges, roads, ports, rail, transit and other infrastructure across 37 states, Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands, particularly those battered by increasingly frequent extreme weather events brought on by the planet’s warming.

The funds come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021 and add to other funding already flowing to states for similar projects, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

It’s the latest of many federal efforts to address the negative effects of human-caused climate change. President Joe Biden has earmarked more than $50 billion toward climate-related projects through the infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act. He has emphasized the importance of climate resilience and adaptation as he seeks a second term.

“We have seen far too many examples of transportation infrastructure being shut down or damaged by extreme weather, which is more extreme and more frequent in this time of climate change,” Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in a call with reporters ahead of the announcement. “America’s infrastructure was not built for the climate that we have today, and the consequences of this are very real and being felt by people in every part of the country.”

He cited events such as the California wildfires, affecting rail in the state, and flooding in New York City, hamstringing the city’s critical subway system. Incidents such as this are worsening, as is global heat; March set a new monthly record for the 10th consecutive month.

“Not only is this timely, not only is this responsive to the science, not only is this critical, to the communities that will benefit, it’s a very high return on investment for public dollars,” National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi said.

Among the funding recipients are:

  • Golden, Colorado will receive $23.8 million to control flooding in Lena Gulch.
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa will receive $56.4 million to replace the 86-year-old Arc of Justice Bridge, crucial for emergency services in times of extreme flooding.
  • Kalamazoo, Michigan will receive nearly $38 million to upgrade stormwater infrastructure.
  • The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will receive $750,000 for a coastal management plan.
  • The Oglala Sioux Tribe will receive $248,000 for a risk assessment of its transportation infrastructure.

The grants each take one of four forms.

Planning grants totaling $45 million will be issued for 26 projects. Resilience improvement funds, totaling $621 million, will be granted to 36 recipients for enhancing projects such as drainage, roadways and other upgrades. Ten projects will receive a total of $45 million in community resilience and evacuation grants, and eight projects will share $119 million in coastal infrastructure funding.

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