President of the Navajo Nation and Governor of the Gila River witness historic signing of $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure law at White House

Just hours after the White House Tribal Nations Summit began, President Joe Biden signed the landmark $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure investment and jobs law. Among the crowd on the South Lawn of the White House were Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen R. Lewis. They joined members of the president’s cabinet including Home Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo), members of Congress, state governors and local officials from across the United States.

“It was truly an honor to be invited to the White House to represent the Navajo people for this monumental signing of the infrastructure bill. This move will also fully fund the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act to provide much needed water resources to the Navajo people. »Declared President Nez.

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The Investment and Jobs Act will rebuild the roads, bridges and railways of the United States; expand access to drinking water; ensure that every American has access to high-speed Internet; fight against the climate crisis; advancing environmental justice; and stimulate the creation of well-paid union jobs.

The main highlights of the Indian Countries Infrastructure Act are:

  • Provides the Reclamation Water Settlement Fund $ 2.5 billion to fully fund existing Indian water rights settlements.
  • Authorizes over $ 3 billion for the five-year Tribal Transportation Program with an additional $ 925 million for the five-year Tribal Transportation Facility Bridges (23 USC § 202 (d)) as additional appropriations.
  • Authorizes $ 2 billion for NTIA’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program and extends time limits for using funds, removes restriction that funds can only be used during the COVID-19 pandemic, and allows new ones funding cycles and subsequent funding cycles for additional credits.
  • Providing $ 3.5 billion over five years for the improvement and construction of IHS sanitation facilities as part of the Indian Health Services Sanitation Facility Construction Program.
  • Provides $ 11.2 billion in grants to states and tribes for land and water reclamation projects from abandoned coal mines. Tribes whose programs are approved under Section 405 of the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act 1977 are eligible to receive grants.
  • Provides $ 55.426 billion in aid grants to states and tribes to provide clean, safe drinking water to communities.
  • Provides $ 6 billion for Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing and Recycling Grant programs that will distribute grants with additional matching given to eligible entities that partner with Indian tribes.

Since President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, which funded 90% of the national highway system, there has not been such comprehensive legislation to invest in infrastructure in the United States.

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