GREENSBORO, N.C. — President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan, $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill into law Monday afternoon.
The folks in DC have been debating this thing since the spring. In all of those months of talk, there's a lot of confusion about what is and is not in this new law. So, let's go item by item to see how it will impact you.
1. Roads & bridges
A big part of this spending package goes toward roads and bridges. North Carolina will get more than $7 billion over the next five years for roads and highways. The state will receive another $457 million for bridges.
Right now North Carolina has nearly 15,000 bridges in poor condition. It's a problem we've been talking about for years like in this story from 2019:
Our Verify team found also found poor condition bridges nationwide.
2. High-speed Internet
The law allocates $100 million to North Carolina for broadband access. Senator Thom Tillis says that will give more than 420 thousand North Carolinians access to the internet. Right now, only about two-thirds of the state has a broadband connection.
We see the disparity especially when you compare rural and urban parts of the Triad. About 61 percent of Guilford County has access daily to high-speed internet. North in Rockingham County, that number drops all the way down to about 29 percent. This created big issues during remote learning from the pandemic.
Governor Cooper and North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore had said for months fixing this issue should be a top priority. This extra money will go a long way towards achieving that goal.
3. Electric car chargers
President Joe Biden has pushed for the country to use more electric vehicles. The White House says North Carolina gets $109 million from the package to expand its electric vehicle network. The state can also apply for an additional $2.5 billion in grant funding.
But the push for electric vehicles led to viral claims that those cars have a huge carbon footprint. Our verify team dug into their environmental impact finding no, electric cars are not worse for the environment than gas-powered cars.
4. Public Transportation
$910 million should be headed to North Carolina over five years to improve public transportation options across the state. State leaders are still debating where to best spend this money.
5. Enhanced Cyber Security
Remember when Colonial Pipeline got hacked and we all scrambled to get gas? This law provides $27 million to protect against cyber attacks in North Carolina.
BONUS: How it won't impact you
The White House says anyone making less than $400,000 a year will not have their taxes raised. And Republican Senator Thom Tillis says no taxes will be raised to pay for this law. Here's how that's possible. First off, you should know Market Watch says more than half of the money is already budgeted in what the government would normally spend in infrastructure improvements.
So how is the rest paid for? About half of the new spending comes from repurposing unused COVID relief funds. Another chunk comes from revenue-generating activities like selling off part of the airwaves to cell phone companies.
And the rest is expected to come from economic growth caused by the new infrastructure created under the law.