King Tides pushed water through the dunes at Gould's Inlet on St. Simons Island over the weekend. Credit: Josh Bain/Glynn County Emergency Management Agency

GA - The Tide: What new infrastructure bill could do for Coastal Georgia

Projects that protect the coast from flooding, plus bike paths, EV infrastructure and building weatherization top wish lists

With the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act freshly passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Friday, Coastal Georgia nonprofit leaders and elected officials are taking a look at how the coast’s needs fit into the act’s funding.

Unlike the American Rescue Plan, which gave funding specifically to localities, this bill doesn’t earmark funding that way. Instead, according to the White House, the bill includes:

  • $89.9 billion in guaranteed funding for public transit over the next five years.
  • $66 billion in funding to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor, and improve rail service outside the northeast and mid-Atlantic.
  • $110 billion in new funding to repair and rebuild roads and bridges “with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users.”
  • $55 billion in funding for clean drinking water, with an emphasis on eliminating lead pipes.
  • $7.5 billion to build out a national network of EV chargers.
  • $17 billion in port infrastructure and waterways.
  • $65 billion in funding to create universal access to reliable high-speed internet.
  • $65 billion in funding for clean energy transmission and power infrastructure upgrades.

Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) pushed to ensure the legislation included funding to help coastal Georgians prepare for more severe tropical storms, storm surge, and coastal flooding.

“This was one of my highest priorities in this infrastructure legislation was ensuring that there were significant investments in coastal resilience,” he told residents in St. Marys in August. “And it is my pleasure to report to you that there is more than $12 billion for coastal resilience in this bipartisan infrastructure bill. And that means resources that will flow to localities and counties for drainage infrastructure improvements for permeable pavers to assist with draining flood and tropical storm and storm surge events, for marsh land remediation and sustainment, for weatherization of public and private buildings so that communities like this one can withstand more and more intense tropical storms and flooding.”

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