WHAT GEORGIANS ARE SEEING: Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Build Back Better Act to Deliver Major Boost to Georgia’s Economy

November 15, 2021

This week, Georgians across the state saw news of the final passage of President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill thanks to the leadership of Senators Ossoff and Reverend Warnock and Georgia’s six congressional Democrats. On Wednesday, Georgia Democrats hosted a virtual press conference celebrating the landmark achievement and highlighting how the package will create thousands of good-paying union jobs, stimulate our economy, and revitalize our state’s roads, bridges, and transportation — despite unanimous opposition from Georgia Republicans.

As Georgia Democrats continue working to pass the President’s Build Back Better Act to continue to lower costs, expand access to health and child care, and cut taxes for middle-class families, media across the Peach State are spotlighting how the popular legislation will transform the lives of millions of Georgians across this state for the better.

Read more about what Georgians saw this week:


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Democrats applaud House passage of infrastructure bill Republicans opposed

  • The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill is headed to President Joe Biden’s desk after a bipartisan U.S. House vote late Friday.
  • Thirteen Republicans voted yes with Democrats, and six Democrats voted no with Republicans for a final tally of 228-206. The Georgia delegation split strictly along party lines.
  • Democrats celebrated House passage of the bill that includes money for improving roads, bridges and public transit. President Joe Biden will sign it into law in the coming days.
  • “For too long, Congress has failed to act boldly when it comes to our infrastructure, leaving our country with congested roads, failing sewer systems, lead in our pipes, unsafe bridges, unreliable broadband and slow-moving trains,” U.S. Rep. David Scott, a Democrat from Atlanta, said in a statement.
  • U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, an Albany Democrat, said the bill is the largest federal investment in infrastructure.
  • “This includes expanding the Interstate 14 designation through Columbus to Augusta, supporting new intercity passenger rail routes which can connect communities along the Interstate 75 corridor, increasing our commitment to rural broadband, and making smart investments in clean energy that will create more good-paying manufacturing jobs,” he said in a statement.
  • “We did something that’s long overdue,” Biden said Saturday. “That long has been talked about in Washington, but never actually been done.”

Savannah Morning News: Backlogged Savannah Port to see immediate relief funds from bipartisan infrastructure bill

  • The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will soon become law, clearing the way for billions of dollars to provide much-needed relief for the nation’s ports, which have been inundated under a pandemic-wrought buying spree and supply chain clog. 
  • Funds from the bipartisan bill will be used to set up “pop-up container yards” to alleviate congestion at the Savannah Port, which has seen months of record-breaking volume come through its terminals.
  • The $8 million project will allow the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) to convert five properties in Georgia and North Carolina into temporary storage yards. “The effort will free up more dock space and speed goods flow in and out of the Port of Savannah, which leads the nation in containerized agricultural exports,” a White House press release stated. 
  • The U.S Dept. of Transportation will allow GPA to reallocate funds in its budget to address supply chain issues. 
  • The changes represent the first phases in a $17 billion package to address the infrastructure needs at America’s ports.
  • The bill represents the largest investment in transportation infrastructure in U.S. history, and includes funding to repair the country’s aging roads and bridges, eliminate rail repair backlogs, expand utility networks and electric car charging stations, and upgrade water systems.

WJCL (Savannah): Supply Chain Solution: White House official says relief is coming to fix Port of Savannah bottleneck

  • WJCL spoke with a member of the Biden administration about a new task force designed to help fix the backlog at the Port of Savannah.
  • The task force is aimed at increasing the flow of goods in and out of the port, so people at home can receive their goods and packages on time.
  • “It’s very good news here in Savannah, for Georgia overall and for the nation in fact, because it’s a series of moves to systematically attack some of those bottlenecks,” said John D. Porcari, a member of the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force.
  • Porcari says the Biden administration is trying to clear up the headaches at the ports, including Savannah’s.
  • “We’re buying more goods because we’re spending less discretionary income on restaurants and theaters, for example. And that has led to record amounts of both incoming and exporting container traffic,” Porcari said.
  • Drivers, port officials, and terminal managers that we’ve spoken to over the last few months all say that any help is appreciated.

Georgia Recorder: Easing of supply chain jam to start with Savannah seaport, White House says

  • The White House announcement that the Port of Savannah will soon be able to spend $8 million to help unclog a sluggish supply chain won bipartisan celebration Tuesday from Georgia’s congressional delegation.
  • Savannah appears to be the first seaport in line to improve its facilities following Friday’s passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
  • It passed without the support of any Georgia Republicans. But GOP Rep. Buddy Carter, who represents a coastal district that includes the port, applauded the investment just the same.
  • The millions will be used to convert existing inland facilities into five pop-up container yards in both Georgia and North Carolina, which will help address supply chain challenges the nation is experiencing.
  • Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock said he has urged senior officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the White House, as well as the Georgia Ports Authority and their officials at the Port of Savannah, to press the essential need for federal funding to ease supply chain issues at Georgia’s ports.
  • “Since I got to Washington I’ve been working to make sure the federal government is doing what’s needed to strengthen Georgia’s infrastructure and address supply chains issues impacting consumers and businesses across our state,” Warnock said in a statement. “I’ve been urging the administration to act boldly to combat these supply chain disruptions, so I’m thrilled they listened to me and others on the ground in releasing federal investments for the Port of Savannah that will help facilitate the transport of cargo, ease port congestion and keep our economy strong and moving forward.”
  • The administration expects the Port of Savannah, the nation’s third-busiest importer, to be the first to take advantage of a policy change allowing ports to redirect about $8 million in funding to immediately address supply chain challenges.
  • The Port of Savannah will use that power to convert existing facilities to the temporary container yards, freeing up space closer to the port itself. Those facilities could be ready in as few as 30 days.
  • The head of the Georgia Ports Authority said the money should go a long way toward getting cargo unloaded from ships waiting to make landfall. Monday, 18 container ships anchored off  the port while waiting for cranes to offload cargo.
  • “Commerce relies upon infrastructure and innovation to succeed,” said ports authority Executive Director Griff Lynch. “Every part of the freight and logistics sector is reassessing its operations due to the current crisis. This reassigned funding will allow us to open new intermodal outlets to help alleviate supply chain congestion and improve the flow of goods for our customers at the Port of Savannah.”
  • The administration will also make available $230 million in grants to ports and $13 million to improve navigable waterways within 45 days. An additional $475 million for ports and navigable waterways would be available in 90 days.
  • In the next three months, the administration will identify $3.4 billion in upgrades to inspection facilities at ports of entry handling international trade. Outdated customs inspection infrastructure “has clearly been a bottleneck.”
  • In addition to the relatively short-term funding, the administration announced plans to help the long-term flow of goods from ports. The bill will provide $110 billion for roads and bridges that the White House said could be “smartly deployed” to ease supply chain congestion.

WABE 90.1 FM (Atlanta): Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux on how infrastructure bill’s passage affects Georgia

  • More than $2 billion are about to flow into Georgia for projects like mass transit and rural broadband. The money comes from Friday’s passage in the U.S. House of the Biden administration’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
  • U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, a Democrat who represents parts of the north and northeast metro Atlanta area, has long supported the proposal.
  • Bourdeaux sat down on WABE’s “All Things Considered” with host Jim Burress, who asked the lawmaker about how projects from Georgia’s 7th Congressional District might align with neighboring districts in Atlanta.

13WMAZ (Macon): Georgia may finally get high-speed rail system via infrastructure bill

  • Congress passed a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, but what does that mean for Central Georgia? Potentially, the state could get a high-speed rail system that makes a stop in Macon. 
  •  “I think it signals the beginning of a great new period of redevelopment and construction,” former Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said. 
  • Whether that means more jobs or easier transit, Reichert says he wants to see the rail line here.
  •  “I want to see Macon and Atlanta get to be at the forefront of that redevelopment and improvement,” Reichert said.  

WABE 90.1 FM (Atlanta): Rep. Hank Johnson talks infrastructure bill, expanding public transportation in South DeKalb

  • On Monday’s edition of “Closer Look” Rep. Hank Johnson, who represents Georgia’s 4th congressional district, talked with program host Rose Scott about how the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better framework will expand public transportation in South DeKalb.
  • “This is a transformational bill that I’m proud that I was a part of helping get passed,” explained Johnson.

The Current: The Tide: What new infrastructure bill could do for Coastal Georgia

  • With the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act freshly passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Friday, Coastal Georgia nonprofit leaders and elected officials are taking a look at how the coast’s needs fit into the act’s funding.
  • Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) pushed to ensure the legislation included funding to help coastal Georgians prepare for more severe tropical storms, storm surge, and coastal flooding.
  • “This was one of my highest priorities in this infrastructure legislation was ensuring that there were significant investments in coastal resilience,” he told residents in St. Marys in August. “And it is my pleasure to report to you that there is more than $12 billion for coastal resilience in this bipartisan infrastructure bill. And that means resources that will flow to localities and counties for drainage infrastructure improvements for permeable pavers to assist with draining flood and tropical storm and storm surge events, for marsh land remediation and sustainment, for weatherization of public and private buildings so that communities like this one can withstand more and more intense tropical storms and flooding.”

The Gainesville Times: Gainesville transit will get $13.8M from infrastructure bill. This is what they plan to do with it

  • Gainesville’s unique ridesharing transit system, WeGo, will go electric using federal funds from recently passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure legislation.
  • About $13.8 million in the massive spending package will go directly to Gainesville public transit, according to a statement from U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff. Gainesville is one of 15 city and county governments in the state receiving direct funds as part of the legislation. 
  • The funding will allow the city to gradually replace its current 17-van WeGo fleet with zero-emissions vehicles, said Phillippa Lewis Moss, Gainesville’s community service center director. This year, the city replaced its fixed-route bus system, Gainesville Connection and its Dial-a Ride service with WeGo, an on-demand ride-sharing service that operates similar to Uber. WeGo has an app that allows users anywhere in Hall County to order a ride 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Fees are $2 for any trip up to 5 miles and 50 cents for every mile afterward. 
  • Moss said she had been working with Ossoff’s staff for the past year to provide local input on this and other legislation. 
  • “When our current vehicles reach their useful life, we can actually start to acquire electric vehicles, which I think will be a wonderful contribution to our community and really be a nod to our desire to preserve the pristine nature of the lake and mountain community in which we live,” Moss said.

The Augusta Chronicle: Federal infrastructure deal to provide $225 million for repairing bridges across Georgia

  • Hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending will be distributed across the country after Congress on Friday passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
  • It is often hard to quantify what that level of spending looks like — but some of it will be as tangible as blacktop and concrete under your tires, with $225 million of it going to repairing bridges across Georgia.
  • According to reports from the Georgia Department of Transportation, 374 bridges across the state are in poor condition. These make up just about 1% of the more than 15,000 total bridges in Georgia but require significant investments to fix or replace. The rest of the state’s bridges remain in good or fair condition.
  • These poor condition bridges are often old, sometimes over a century old.
  • The oldest, a steel bridge in Elbert County in northeast Georgia, was built in 1915.
  • Meriwether County, in west-central Georgia, has the most bridges in poor condition at 18, including a wooden truss bridge built in 1930. 
  • The money in the new infrastructure bill could be enough, according to Sen. Raphael Warnock, to repair 80% of these poor condition bridges, although which bridges specifically will be repaired remains to be seen.
  • “This is definitely exciting news and we’re waiting on further details,” said Rani Katreeb, engineering administrator for Athens-Clarke County. “There is a huge need when it comes to bridges.” 

Gwinnett Daily Post: U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux touts bipartisan infrastructure bill projects, plan to add flexibility for spending of COVID relief funds

  • U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux said two bills, one that she has introduced and another that Congress recently passed, will be a key step in helping communities make headway on addressing a host of infrastructure needs ranging from transportation to water and broadband.
  • Bourdeaux held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to talk about her bill that would give local governments more flexibility in how left over COVID relief funds can be used to address infrastructure needs. She also used the occasion as an opportunity to talk about the impact of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that Congress passed and sent to President Joe Biden on Nov. 5.
  • “This is the largest bite at getting more done than you have seen in your lifetime or we will probably see in our lifetimes,” Bourdeaux told the Daily Post after the press conference. “So, you’re never going to get everything done, but this will go further than anything we’ve ever done in our lifetimes.”
  • The bipartisan infrastructure package bill covered a lot of “hard” infrastructure projects. Bourdeaux said Georgia can expect to receive about $8.9 billion over the next five years to address infrastructure needs, such as road and highway repairs and safety upgrades.
  • “That’s a 52% increase from around $6 billion they would have normally received over that time,” Bourdeaux said.

WABE 90.1 FM: Infrastructure bill could rev Georgia’s electric vehicle market despite ‘no’ votes from GOP

  • Among the 13 Republicans in the U.S. House who crossed the aisle last weekend to help pass the trillion dollar infrastructure bill, none are from Georgia.
  • “So the question is, why did every single Georgia Republican oppose this popular, historic legislation?” asked Rep. Nikema Williams, who also chairs the Georgia Democratic Party.
  • The infrastructure bill passed by congress invests, among other things, $135 million to build a network of electric vehicle charging stations in Georgia.
  • “What this bill does is that it ensures that electrification of vehicles isn’t just for a few, [but] that we can introduce this to the masses to make sure that we’re reducing our carbon footprint,” said Williams.
  • The movement toward more electric vehicles in the state has the support of some Republican lawmakers in Georgia, but not all. Among those who voted no on the infrastructure bill was Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde. He says spending millions on charging stations is “wasteful” even though his district includes Commerce, Ga., where thousands of workers will soon be building batteries for electric vehicles.


Marietta Daily Journal: LTE: Child Tax Credits have been a life jacket

  • Without the advanced child tax credit monthly payments, my family would have been homeless. No matter how hard we try, we’ve encountered misfortune that keeps financial stability just out of reach. In 2018, we lost almost everything in a fire from which we still haven’t recovered. This year, my fiancé was in a car accident and out of work for months. I scrambled to find the first job I could at a fast-food restaurant to pay our bills. While looking for affordable housing, we became victims of housing fraud. Without housing or anything to our name, my family would have ended up homeless. Thankfully, we began receiving the monthly CTC payments just in time.
  • I used the monthly payments to afford rent, gas, food, and clothes for my children. This money is going toward meeting our basic needs. I prefer getting the CTC monthly, as opposed to once a year at tax time, because my family has immediate needs that can’t wait.
  • Recently, Democrats in Congress came to an agreement to extend the expanded CTC into 2022 as part of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. No Republicans voted for the expansion and it’s unlikely they’ll vote to extend it. Although I identify as a conservative, I disagree with the members of my party in Congress who oppose this plan. The CTC is a lifesaver for my family and many others. I urge my fellow conservatives to stand by our family values and support the expanded CTC because American families are hurting and the CTC is helping us to recover.

Georgia Public Broadcasting: Georgia policy group expects Biden’s economic plan to spur historic reduction in child poverty

  • The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is urging the state’s congressional delegation to support President Biden’s Build Back Better plan. GPB’s Ellen Eldridge explains.
  • As members of the U.S. House of Representatives ready themselves to vote Friday on the Biden administration’s Build Back Better plan, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is encouraging the state’s congressional delegation to support the plan.
  • The framework in this plan is an opportunity to increase opportunity, reduce poverty and shrink racial inequities for Georgia’s children, workers and family, said Caitlin Highland, director of strategic communications at GBPI.
  • Roughly 270,000 Georgians currently make too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford insurance on HealthCare.gov.
  • “This would help them access that health care coverage,” Highland said. “And I want to be very clear that that’s particularly important for racial equity because a disproportionate share of those in that coverage gap are Black, Latino and other people of color.”
  • As the pandemic continues to affect both Georgia’s residents as well as the state’s economy, this tax credit is currently helping families afford basic necessities, Highland said.
  • “These monthly checks can help you afford rent; they can help you afford groceries,” she said. “It’s really about making sure that folks can afford those necessities and give their kids a better life.”

WABE 90.1 FM (Atlanta): Build Back Better Act could bring jobs, economic development to Georgia’s solar industry

  • South Korean-based Hanwha Q-Cells operates the largest solar panel factory in the Western Hemisphere in Dalton, Georgia. Under President Joe Biden’s plan, various incentives would boost clean energy technology like solar panels, and ensure they were built with American-made materials that in turn would create hundreds of thousands of jobs here at home.
  • Scott Moskowitz, director of public affairs for Q-Cells America, joined “Morning Edition” to explain what it could mean for Georgia to have this bill passed.

Georgia Recorder: Local Georgia officials eye clean energy climate solutions in Build Back Better Act

  • Brookhaven and Doraville mayors joined conservationists Wednesday to call on Congress to support milestone legislation they say will reduce pollution, create high-paying jobs, and address systemic environmental injustice.  
  • As early as next week, the House of Representatives could take up a vote on President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act that provides a $555 billion investment in clean energy and attacking climate change.
  • The Build Back Better Act edged closer to a vote following last week’s historic approval of a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that is winning praise for its ability to address climate change and increase equity for disadvantaged communities. Biden plans to sign the infrastructure bill in a ceremony Monday, setting up a showdown next week for his other plan that is downsized from a package that sat at $3.5 trillion in September.
  • On Wednesday, environmentalists and the two metro Atlanta mayors gathered at a suburban park north of Atlanta to applaud the infrastructure bill as a major step to attack the looming climate crisis. However, they said even more progress can come through Build Back Better. 
  • The legislation sets policies and allocates billions to cut carbon pollution in half by 2030. 
  • Legislation also aims to prepare Georgians to work in new clean energy jobs while lowering pollution that creates health burdens that disproportionately fall on minorities and the poor.
  • “The city of Doraville is one of the most diverse communities in metro Atlanta,” Doraville Mayor Joseph Geierman said at Murphey Candler Park in Brookhaven. “We have the highest percentage of people of Latino or Hispanic origin in the state. We also have many people who are at the bottom of the income scale and who need access to good-paying jobs and equitable opportunities. Communities of color and their vulnerable groups are often hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change.”
  • Among the top priorities of the environmental group Moms Clean Air Force is replacing 470,000 diesel school buses across the country with zero emission buses. Almeta Cooper, Georgia field coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force, says that will protect the health of about 800,000 students and bus drivers while helping the country reach the 2030 carbon emissions goal.
  • “This is a goal that scientists say is necessary to prevent the impacts of climate change,” Cooper said. “Time is running out. Going big on climate action and investing in our communities is crucial both to Georgia and to our nation.”
  • According to Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst, money in the infrastructure bill will help increase the number of the city’s electric car stations, while a tax credit tucked into the Build Back Better Act is intended to entice more people to purchase electric vehicles.
  • Congresswoman Lucy McBath, a Marietta Democrat, is spending the week working to build on the momentum of passing the infrastructure bill that will provide Georgia with $1.4 billion in sustainable transportation investments and offer $135 million to accelerate electric vehicle capabilities.
  • “Every resident of metro Atlanta has a right to high-quality, regular, and dependable transportation options, and we must continue to make it easier, safer, and more sustainable to travel across our state,” McBath said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation helps us improve critical transportation for underserved residential areas, getting Americans back to work, connecting employees with employers, and ensuring our small businesses have access to the customers they need to grow and thrive.”
  • Across the U.S., a portion of the $90 billion for public transit would allow operators to swap out 10,000 fossil fuel-powered buses for those that run on batteries or other low-emission energy. 
  • The legislation dedicates $7.5 billion to create a nationwide network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations. Clean energy initiatives include $5 billion to replace thousands of diesel-powered school buses with electric buses. And $3.5 billion is set aside to reduce energy costs for low-income households.


Other News from DPG

Questions? Tips? Call anytime.

Georgia Voter Protection Line


Democratic Party of Georgia

Help us elect Democrats in Georgia.