Report: Utah infrastructure best in country with C grade
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A report made public by the White House on Monday said Utah leads the country in infrastructure with a C-plus letter grade, revealing the broad need for upgrades across the U.S.
The report said Utah has 62 bridges and more than 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) of highway in poor condition, has 17% of its trains and buses running past their useful life and needs $4.4 billion in water system improvements over the next 20 years, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The report was published as President Joe Biden promoted a $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, which is opposed by some Republicans, including all six members of Utah’s members of Congress.
Some lawmakers have criticized the plan for spending that goes beyond roads and bridges and includes such items as child care and because it is suspected that tax increases will be needed to pay for the funding. The report also does not say how much money would be given to Utah if the proposed plan passes Congress.
Sen. Mitt Romney’s spokesperson Arielle Mueller said the Republican opposes the tax increases, but is open to putting an infrastructure plan in place.
“He hopes that infrastructure reform will be negotiated in a bipartisan way to improve what’s broken in our country — roads, highways, bridges in disrepair — not as a means to institute a laundry list of government projects that have nothing to do with infrastructure,” Mueller said of Romney’s response to the plan.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigeig, a Democrat, said on Monday that his pitch to Republicans was about the jobs the infrastructure projects would create. Buttigeig also tried to rebut criticism by highlighting what the bill includes.
“I also want to point to the fact that the greatest infrastructure investments in American history — the Erie Canal to the transcontinental railroad to the interstate highway system — partly were great because they challenged the country to expand its definition of infrastructure from what prevailed in the past, and that’s one of the reasons why you’re going to see things like broadband in this package.”
Biden said the bill would provide money for multiple needs from responding to extreme weather events to providing more affordable housing and expanding broadband access.
“We really view these federal investments as going hand in hand with states and communities that are stepping up,” Buttigeig said. “We’ve seen a lot of states, even local communities, taking sometimes tough votes to raise the revenue to make needed improvements. And the reality is, frankly, the need is big enough.”