AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - President Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill into law on Monday. The $1.2T legislation includes funding to help revitalize roads and bridges, improve transit and public transportation and expand broadband in rural communities. 

The state of Georgia is expected to receive: 

  • $225M for bridge replacement and repairs over five years
  • $1.4B to improve public transportation options across the state over five years
  • $135M to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state over five years 
  • $100M to help provide broadband coverage across the state 
  • $22M to protect against wildfires over five years
  • $24M to protect against cyberattacks
  • $913M to improve water infrastructure across the state over five years 
  • $619M for infrastructure development for airports over five years. 

You can find a full breakdown from the White House here.

Officials say right now it's unclear how much will be coming to the Augusta-Richmond County area, but Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis says the bill's passage is a big win for the city. “I remember vividly in 2015, 2016, 2017, going to Washington for Infrastructure Week along with my colleague mayors from across the nation advocating for an infrastructure bill,” Mayor Davis says. “And while there was much discussion in Washington talking about infrastructure, we never had an occasion to celebrate. [On Monday] we had an occasion to celebrate.”

Let's take a look at some of the changes our area could see. 

Statewide, there are 374 bridges and more than 2,260 miles of highway in poor condition. “We have it better in Augusta than many other communities because we were fortunate and successful in passing TSPLOST in 2012 and again in 2020,” Mayor Davis says. TSPLOST is a one-percent tax that funds local transportation upgrades. He says investments in roads and bridges can help move the city forward but says there will really be an opportunity to make a difference where public transit is concerned. 

Over the summer, Augusta piloted three electric buses in the city.  Mayor Davis says they’ll be able to bring more in and purchase additional buses with the money from the infrastructure bill. “Those dollars have been directly allocated for those purposes,” he says. The mayor also says that money could go toward the city's Green Augusta initiative which was launched earlier this year. They put an electric charging station at Diamond Lakes Regional Park and he says they hope to put more in around the city. 

Transit and transportation improvements are something Georgia Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock has been pushing for. Sen. Warnock visited Augusta back in September to tour the transit facility in Augusta Regional Airport and he recently secured $5M in funding to bolster clean-energy school buses. In a statement, he said:

"From securing $25.5 million for Augusta-Richmond Transit and $13.5 million for the Augusta Regional Airport, to championing job-creating investments to green our yellow school buses and expand broadband access, to establishing I-14 as a high-priority corridor to help relieve local congestion and link the Augusta-Richmond area with other emerging technology hubs, I was proud to get so many good policies for Augusta in this bill. And I’m going to keep fighting to direct even more federal funds to Augusta in the next major package.”

Also included in the bill is $55B to remove and replace lead pipes from public schools - the largest-ever investment into clean drinking water. FOX54's Hannah Cotter has been reporting on this story since April, when Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff launched the push to include it in the legislation. He says its passage will ensure clean drinking water for both students and families in and around the CSRA. “Clean water is fundamental," he says. "I mean, look: this is America. Our kids shouldn’t be drinking water from lead pipes. And that’s why I championed this. We were able to unite democrats and republicans to include it in the bill and now this bipartisan infrastructure bill will have the resources necessary to remove those lead pipes in Augusta and across our state.” 

In August, FOX54 spoke with Augusta Utilities about some of the water infrastructure plans they have for the city. Utilities Director Wes Byne said they have a number of rehabilitation projects planned, including some in the Rocky Creek Basin and downtown towards East Augusta, where there are high flows during rainfall. "We would seek to try to identify what’s going on and go ahead and mitigate those, try to get them completely fixed, get rid of all the leaks and the old pipes, that type of thing," Byne says.  

FOX54 reached out to the city of Augusta to see when some of these projects might begin, but a spokesperson says they would like to wait to comment until the Commission has more details. 

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