Derek Kilmer.

Derek Kilmer.

Kilmer meeting with government agencies to speak about infrastructure

Congressman highlights roads, bridges and other projects

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer is spending this week meeting with North Olympic Peninsula government agencies, talking about infrastructure.

Speaking Monday with the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners, Kilmer dove into the passage of the federal infrastructure bill and what it means for the state and what benefits could come to the Peninsula.

“This bill is about getting people to work now and laying the foundation for economic growth over the long haul by investing in roads, bridges, transit, water systems, ports and broadband,” Kilmer said. “It’s about recognizing that we can’t compete in the 21st century with 19th- and 20th-century infrastructure.”

The funds from the infrastructure bill will be run through the state, and cities, counties and other government agencies can apply for them.

A number of funds have been set aside for specific kinds of projects, such as highway and bridge repair, broadband, ports, wastewater, fish passage and other environmental resiliency projects that combat climate change.

“Based on formula funding alone, our state is expected to receive $4.7 billion for federal aid highway-apportioned programs, over $600 million for bridge replacement and repair over the next five years,” Kilmer said.

Kilmer encouraged communities to apply for multiple grant opportunities to fund infrastructure projects through the bill but also recommended they mention some specific elements, especially when it comes to transportation-related grants.

“The biggest slug of money in this bill is for transportation programs and, in fact, the federal DOT will be the lead agency on implementation of most of this bill,” Kilmer said.

“The administration has laid out several priorities for where those dollars will go, prioritizing job creation, safety, equity and quality of life, climate change and economic competitiveness.”

Kilmer will be virtually visiting with other government entities throughout the week.

“Thank you all for what you do,” Kilmer told the Jefferson County Commissioners and North Olympic Peninsula Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry. “Obviously this has been a very rough time from the standpoint of the public health system and obviously we have faced some extraordinary economic challenges as well, and each of you has been on the front lines just trying to help your community.”

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached by email at kpark@peninsuladailynews.com.

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