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What the bipartisan infrastructure bill means for South Carolina and which lawmakers support it

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina’s infrastructure received a C- from the American Society of Engineers, but not every Member of Congress from the state says a more than a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill is the best way to fix it.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill got 69 votes in the U.S. Senate, 19 from Republicans. However, the $1.2 trillion plan carries too large of a price tag for South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.

“I support targeted investment in upgrading our nation’s roads, bridges, ports, broadband, and other real infrastructure needs. But I cannot support more reckless spending on unrelated pet projects that will suffocate our future generations with mountains of debt,” Scott wrote in a statement after casting his vote.

The state’s senior senator Lindsey Graham was one of the Republicans who support the bill. He told Lowcountry reporters it will give the state a much-needed facelift.

“The bipartisan infrastructure bill is good for South Carolina,” Graham said. ”It provides much-needed help for our roads, bridges, ports, and expands broadband internet access. I have always been supportive of infrastructure investment and wish we had passed this years ago.”

While the Palmetto State’s lone congressional Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn, supports the bill as well, he may be the only member from South Carolina in the U.S. House to say it’s passage is what’s best for the state.

“In my home state of South Carolina, nearly 1 in 10 households lack access to an internet connection, and even more cannot afford service. As a result, they cannot work remotely, cannot learn remotely, and cannot access telehealth. The internet is as essential to the 21st century as electricity was to the 20th century, and far too many Americans are left out,” Clyburn said on the U.S. House floor.

All other members of the South Carolina delegation said they don’t support the bill.

“While I agree that Congress must work together to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, the ‘Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’ is rife with wasteful spending,” midlands Rep. Joe Wilson said. “This bill looks to disperse over a trillion dollars, with only $110 billion of the new spending in this bill going towards roads, bridges, and major projects that the American people generally consider traditional ‘infrastructure.’”

Rep. Timmons from the upstate agreed with Wilson that improving broadband and roads and bridges is important but, “Unfortunately, the bill at hand does far, far more than that,” he said. “It would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the federal deficit and is inextricably linked to the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion tax and spending spree which I strongly oppose.”

So what’s in the bill for South Carolinians?

According to the White House, if passed, the bill will bring billions into South Carolina over the next five years.

  • $4.9 billion for improving the state’s roads and bridges
  • $366 million for public transportation
  • $70 million to expand the state’s network of electric vehicle charging stations
  • $100 million to expand access to broadband
  • $18.3 million to help protect against cyberattacks
  • $510 million to improve drinking water quality in the state
  • $161 million for airport infrastructure
Bipartisan infrastructure bill's impact in South Carolina
Bipartisan infrastructure bill's impact in South Carolina(Live 5 News)

The White House says this bill has the potential of being one of the largest investments in our nation’s infrastructure in nearly 100 years.

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