President Joe Biden visited Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Tuesday to talk infrastructure.
The president spoke about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a $1 trillion investment bill meant to tackle improvements to roads and highways, build bridges and railroads, address climate change concerns and other infrastructure needs in the country.
Biden’s destination is the state’s only deep water harbor, making it a critical way station for home heating oil, fiberoptic cables and rock gypsum, which is used to produce drywall.
Under the $1 trillion infrastructure law, $1.7 million will be used to dredge the harbor’s shipping channel and basin. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers already spent $18.2 million to make it easier for larger ships to access the harbor, a project intended to reduce delays that cause higher prices for consumers.
Overall, the law includes $17 billion for upgrading port facilities at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc on international supply chains.
Funding from the law is being provided to state, local and regional governments and then doled out to appropriate projects.
Bridges were a focus of the president's remarks, as he announced $45 million to fix bridges in New Hampshire, this year alone.
"Right now there are nearly 200 bridges deemed deficient in New Hampshire alone. There’s about 315 such bridges in Maine. Many of these are less trafficked bridges that are essential to small towns and rural areas," he said, adding that in an emergency like a fire every mile counts.
There are also plans to improve the 700 miles of highways in New Hampshire that are in disrepair.
The president also announced intentions to replace 100% of lead service pipes and service lines going into homes, and to work on removing dangerous PFAS chemicals from the drinking water supply.
Another key point - internet access and plans to expand broadband access throughout New Hampshire, Maine and the region to ensure the availability of high-speed service to anyone in need.
"Never again should a parent have to sit in their car at a McDonald's parking lot - literally - so that their child can get access to high-speed internet to do their homework."
There were also less hopeful notes to his speech, including a warning that the war in Ukraine will continue to impact the U.S. economy and inflation.
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Biden’s trip is his second to New Hampshire as president. The state was his first stop after he signed the infrastructure legislation in November, and he spoke in front of an old bridge in Woodstock that’s overdue for repairs.
State Democrats said last week that they are looking forward to the visit.
“We are thrilled to welcome President Biden back to the Granite State, where we are already seeing the incredible benefits of the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Package that he and Democrats delivered for families in New Hampshire and across the country," New Hampshire Democratic Party communications Director David Pourshoushta wrote in a statement.
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The president has repeatedly focused on these kinds of initiatives as his more ambitious agenda to boost education, social services and climate change initiatives remains stalled.
With the midterm elections approaching later this year, Biden is eager to convince voters that one of his administration’s top accomplishments is creating concrete progress after years of unfulfilled promises from his predecessor, President Donald Trump, who never cut a deal on infrastructure spending.