The following is a legislative update from State Senator Amanda Ragan, representing portions of Franklin, Butler and Cerro Gordo counties:
On Labor Day, let’s renew our commitment to Iowa’s working families.
When you put in a 40-hour work week, your contributions should be valued enough that you can make ends meet and provide opportunities for your family.
Hard-working Iowans have faced a lot of challenges in recent years—wages that don’t keep up with inflation, a lack of child care options and a pandemic that has upended everything.
The result? Workforce challenges, a child care shortage, a maternal health crisis, small businesses that still have not recovered from the pandemic and more.
Iowans continue to fight for an economy that works for all of us. This year, you succeeded by fending off multiple proposals to reduce help for Iowans who lost jobs through no fault of their own during a global pandemic and record-high unemployment.
We still have a lot to do to ensure a fair shake for Iowans who punch the clock every day.
Infrastructure bill is good for Iowans
We must lay the foundation for a robust and equitable recovery for all Iowans. The bipartisan infrastructure framework making its way through Congress can jumpstart our efforts.
It’s a significant long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness—something Iowa desperately needs. On its most recent infrastructure report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Iowa a C grade
The federal proposal would allow us to overhaul our critical infrastructure, build a stronger Iowa economy and improve life in every community, while creating great jobs and training students and workers with the skills they need to do those jobs.
Here in Iowa, we’ll get to:
* Repair and rebuild our roads and bridges. Iowa has 4,571 bridges and more than 403 miles of highway in poor condition. Commute times are on the rise, and expenses are going up for car repairs and other costs of driving on bad roads.
* Improve transportation options. Iowans who take public transportation spend an extra 30% of their time commuting via transit vehicles that are often past their useful life. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will allow us to modernize and expand transportation options Iowans need.
* Strengthen infrastructure for 21st Century challenges, such as cyber-attacks and extreme weather events. From 2010 to 2020, Iowa had 32 extreme weather events, costing the state tens of billions in damages. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework aims to improve the resiliency of our infrastructure and support disaster recovery.
* Deliver clean drinking water. Over the next 20 years, Iowa’s drinking water infrastructure will require $7.9 billion in additional funding. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will invest in clean, safe drinking water for all communities, and eliminate lead service lines and pipes.
* Connect every American to reliable broadband. 13.4% of Iowans live in areas where there is no access to high-speed Internet, and 61% have only one broadband option. The Framework will bring universal, reliable, high-speed, affordable service to every Iowa neighborhood.