North Carolina's two Republican Senators voted in favor of the Infrastructure and Jobs Act passed in November. Both,but especially Thom Tillis, who had won re-election last year, came under much criticism from members of their own party. Many of them referred to Tillis as a 'RINO,' Republican in name only.
Tillis defended his and Richard Burr's vote. All of North Carolina's GOP House members voted against the measure.
Tillis said he was proud to have supported the bipartisan legislation, saying it "wasn't so much victory for Joe Biden as for America's infrastructure." Biden had asked for $2.3 billion for infrastructure improvements; the Act provided $1.2 billion.
When the bill was passed, Tillis pointed out what North Carolina would get from it:
- $7.2 billion for North Carolina roads and highways over the next five years. North Carolina currently has more than 3,000 miles of highway in “poor” condition.
- $911 million for North Carolina public transportation over the next five years.
- $457 million for North Carolina bridge construction and repair over the next five years. Currently, North Carolina has nearly 1,500 bridges considered in “poor” condition.
- $440 million for clean water in North Carolina through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) over the next five years.
- $100 million for broadband in the first year for North Carolina to provide broadband services to the 424,000 North Carolinians who currently do not have access to them, with the state eligible for additional funding in subsequent years.
The Act makes North Carolina eligible for a share of funding for projects to protect coastal areas from hurricane and storm damage. The nationwide allocation is $7 billion, with priority for states like North Carolina impacted by multiple recent natural disasters.
The state will also receive funding for flood mitigation activities through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The nationwide allocation is $4.5 billion.
North Carolina will also be eligible for money for airport improvement projects. The nationwide allocation is $25 billion.
On Thursday (Dec. 16th) Tillis announced he had secured $458 million for North Carolina airports over the next five years.
The biggest grants will go to the international airports in Charlotte and Raleigh. Douglas Airport will get over $43 million; Raleigh-Durham will get $14.6 miliion.
The Lincolnton-Lincoln County Airport and the Hickory Regional Airport will be among those who'll receive $295,000.
The Gastonia Municipal Airport and the Shelby-Cleveland County Airport willget $159,000.
“I was proud to work in the bipartisan group to create and pass the infrastructure package, which is fully funded and will bring billions of dollars for targeted infrastructure needs to North Carolina,” said Senator Tillis. “This airport funding will continue to drive economic development throughout our rural and urban communities, and I look forward to seeing these investments deployed to improve our critical infrastructure assets in the state.”