Rep. Tom Reed was on hand Monday at the White House as President Joe Biden signed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that would not have passed without the votes of a handful of House Republicans.
Reed, R-Corning, was in a bipartisan crowd that included fellow New Yorker and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, a Democrat; Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican who helped negotiate and pare down the package; and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Other Republicans included Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Alaska Rep. Don Young and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
Reed told the Times Herald last week that he had been consistent in supporting the infrastructure bill “which provides historic levels of funding for New York infrastructure as well as for our nation’s.”
He told The Buffalo News that in addition to highway contractors in the Southern Tier, the Alstom rail manufacturing facility in Hornell, Steuben County, could benefit from the bill’s investment in rail transit. Vast rural stretches of his district should also benefit from the bill’s $65 billion for high-speed broadband internet service expansion, he said.
But his support of the bill — he was one of 13 Republicans in the House to vote for it — has also come with a cost.
Reed told the Times Herald last week that his offices have been flooded with angry calls and emails over his vote. He’s even received some threatening messages, as have other fellow Republican House members who voted for the infrastructure bill.
Meanwhile, New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher lauded the bill’s signing on Monday.
“Our state’s farmers depend on safe roads, bridges and waterways to move farm equipment and get our goods to market,” Fisher said. “We could no longer ignore the country’s ailing infrastructure that is crucial to our economy and food supply chain.”
Fisher noted the legislation invests “critical funds of $110 billion in roads and bridges and $17.3 billion for ports and waterways. In addition, our rural communities often fall behind when it comes to fast and affordable broadband access, a necessary utility in today’s world.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said the package will deliver at least $27 billion in direct funding for New York infrastructure projects. She noted that several of her provisions were included in the package, including measures to encourage the use of local workers in infrastructure projects, increased limousine safety standards and funding for infrastructure projects that will help repair bridges, airports and roads, connect local workers to good-paying jobs and improve our nation’s water and sewage systems.
“President Biden and Congress have delivered one of the boldest and most consequential infrastructure packages in our nation’s history — this package will create jobs, boost our economy, deliver funding to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure and help rebuild underserved communities,” Gillibrand said. “This once-in-a-generation investment will build a stronger, more resilient economy and lay the foundation for a brighter future.”
Hochul, in her first trip to the White House as governor, said the bill means “billions of dollars coming to the state of New York for critical and long overdue infrastructure projects” including roads and bridges, funding for transit systems, clean water and continued broadband improvements.