November 06, 2021

Wyden Welcomes Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Passage

Historic bill includes Wyden’s Oregon priorities: power grid resiliency provisions, wildfire risk mitigation funding, Western drought and Tribal water assistance, and funding for essential services in rural communities

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today welcomed House passage of the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, which includes essential priorities for Oregon and the West. The bill now goes to the President's desk to be signed into law. 

"I’ve said for a long time, you can't have a big league economy with little league infrastructure. And today Oregon and the American West will finally get the significant investments needed to deal with catastrophic wildfires and severe drought, build back hard-hit rural economies, improve access to public transit and make sure clean drinking water is a right for everyone," Wyden said. "And while now we can put people to work to build a more resilient and stronger Oregon, my work isn't over to deliver on equally-important priorities in the Build Back Better package."

The bipartisan infrastructure legislation passed by both the House and Senate will create millions of good-paying jobs to rebuild and strengthen our nation's crumbling infrastructure, including our roads, bridges and airports, address the climate crisis by expanding access to public transit and electric vehicles, ensure clean drinking water is available for every community, and make our infrastructure more resilient against extreme weather events caused by the climate emergency.

Key measures include:

  • $5 billion for provisions of Wyden’s Disaster Safe Power Grid Act to secure the power grid from extreme weather and natural disasters to prevent severe wildfires; 
  • $5 billion to help farmers, ranchers and communities respond to drought;
  • $162 million for Klamath habitat restoration work through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service secured by Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley;
  • $250 million for Wyden's Western Tribal Water Infrastructure Act to help improve drinking water quality and services for tribal communities in Oregon and nationwide. This will help address the emergency water situation on the Warm Springs Reservation.
  • Three additional years of funding ($290 million per year) for the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program, which dedicates funding for rural communities facing budget shortfalls to address essential needs like schools and emergency services, totaling $870 million nationwide;
  • $6 billion for wildfire risk mitigation and forest health treatments, including an additional $100 million secured by Wyden for the Collaborative Forestry Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), as well as a Wyden provision to clarify that CFLRP funding can be used for existing projects. The provision will ensure existing collaboratives, like the Lakeview Collaborative that has been facing the Bootleg Fire, can get access to $100 million of additional Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program funding; 
  • $65 billion to connect every American to high-quality, reliable broadband internet access, including in rural and mountainous Oregon communities, with Oregon expecting to receive a minimum allocation of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the at least 136,600 Oregonians who currently lack it. 
  • An estimated $747 million over five years allocated to the state of Oregon to improve public transportation options across the state.