Broadband access and student safety are getting billions from infrastructure plan

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $65 billion to expand broadband services
By: | November 16, 2021

President Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Nov. 15, enacting a new law that will fund several K-12 education-related infrastructure initiatives.

The law will provide funding for the removal of lead pipes that supply drinking water to schools and childcare facilities, safe routes to school programs, expanded broadband access, and clean school bus programs.

During the signing ceremony at the White House, Biden spoke about the $55 billion in funding in the new law that will provide for the removal of lead pipes.

“If you live in one of the 10 million homes or your child attends one of the 400,000 schools or childcare centers that still has lead pipes in them, you face a clear and present danger to your child’s health and your health now,” Biden said. “This law is going to start to replace 100 percent of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines so every American, every child can turn on the faucet and drink clean water.”

Biden also spoke about the law’s $65 billion expansion of broadband services, calling access to high-speed internet “as essential as access to water and electricity” and stating that “no parent should have to sit in a parking lot at a fast-food restaurant again just so their child can use the Internet to do their homework. That’s over.”

Biden also encouraged Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act, a measure that includes $112 million in funding for IDEA Part D personnel development grants, $112 million each for school leadership development and teacher development grants, funding for childcare and universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-old children, and expanding the Community Eligibility Provision program to expand eligibility for free school meals.

The House is expected to consider the Build Back Better Act before Thanksgiving, with possible Senate consideration to follow.

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