November 05, 2021

Cortez Masto: Bipartisan Infrastructure Package Will Boost Nevada’s Economy, Help State Combat Wildfire and Drought

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan infrastructure package, which now heads to President Biden’s desk for signature. The funding Senator Cortez Masto secured in this legislation makes historic investments in Nevada and includes her landmark legislation to combat drought and wildfires. It will also invest in American jobs and manufacturing, strengthening our supply chain and our economy.

“This legislation is the product of hard work and compromise over many months, and it’s incredibly good news for Nevada’s families, workers, and businesses. First and foremost, this is a jobs bill that will spur Nevada’s economic recovery and create good-paying jobs in communities all across the state. Thanks to provisions I secured, it will also help combat some of the Silver State’s biggest environmental challenges, including increasingly destructive wildfires in the North and drought in Southern Nevada. I worked hard to craft a bill that truly addresses Nevada’s needs and opens up new opportunities for the state, and I’m proud that these historic investments in our economy will soon be signed into law.”

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was passed through both the House and Senate with bipartisan support. It will create thousands of jobs across Nevada and includes funding to upgrade Nevada’s roads and airports, make new investments in our public transit system, and help ensure Nevadans have access to reliable high-speed internet. It also includes numerous provisions of Cortez Masto’s Innovation State Initiative to harness new technologies to encourage the use and expansion of clean energy, spur electric vehicle development, and diversify Nevada’s economy through support for research and innovation projects across the state.

Senator Cortez Masto secured the following provisions in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that would benefit Nevada:

·       Drought Mitigation: Cortez Masto’s legislation to combat drought and protect Nevada’s water supply, including Lake Mead, is included. The bill includes $450 million for a competitive grant program for large-scale water recycling projects across the Western U.S. This new program could help fund a regional water recycling project that will produce enough water to serve more than 500,000 households in Southern California and Nevada. In total, the bill sets aside $8.3 billion for Western water infrastructure and drought resilience.

·       Wildfire Management and Mitigation Funding: The bill includes provisions Cortez Masto authored to provide $3.4 billion for wildfire prevention activities and an additional $10 million for wildfire detection equipment, like Lake Tahoe’s successful ALERTWildfire camera network. The wildfire funding in the bill totals $8 billion for prevention, risk reduction, detection, and restoration.

·       Investments in Our Domestic Critical Mineral and Battery Supply Chain: The bill also makes critical investments in our domestic supply chain and American manufacturing companies. The bipartisan legislation includes Cortez Masto’s bill to promote Nevada’s mining and emerging battery industries and set up a sustainable critical mineral supply chain, which does not currently exist in the United States. Right now, critical minerals like lithium and cobalt mined in Nevada are largely shipped overseas for processing and manufacturing purposes, but this measure will help Nevada expand its industry and create more jobs in the processing and recycling sectors. Another bill the Senator advocated for promotes battery manufacturing and recycling projects in Nevada and across the country.

·      Investments in Our Students: This new infrastructure package also includes Cortez Masto’s Renew America’s Schools, Safe Routes to All Schools, and Connected Rural Schools Acts, which would help keep students safe when traveling to class, upgrade our schools to make them more energy efficient, and help close the digital divide for rural students. The bill also includes funding to purchase clean electric school buses.  

·       Electric Vehicle (EV) Production and Deployment: Cortez Masto’s bills to create an EV commission, develop a national strategy for the electrification of the transportation sector, and to expand and map EV infrastructure were included in the bill. The bill provides the nation with the resources it needs to build out a truly national network of EV chargers.

The package also contains multiple additional provisions Cortez Masto pushed to help promote sustainability in Nevada, including $16.9 million in funding for the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act and measures to create new jobs by allowing former hard rock mining sites to be used for innovative solar and other renewable energy projects. The package also includes her Moving FIRST Act to promote smart city innovations in transportation systems in communities of all sizes and multiple provisions to promote good-paying jobs in transportation and better connect the transportation system to affordable housing.