Op-Ed: Federal infrastructure dollars are welcomed

Senator Sean M. Ryan

November 23, 2021

Originally published in Ken-Ton Bee on November 23, 2021.

There is no doubt that the last two years have been incredibly challenging for the American people and our economy. While the pandemic remains a daily challenge, we have made great progress with vaccination, which is saving lives and helping to keep people safe. We still have a tough road ahead, but I know we are all looking forward to being together with our loved ones this holiday season.

Our economy is currently at a crossroads as we continue to rebuild and address the impact of the pandemic. While job growth, wages, and home sales are up, so too is inflation, which is driving up the cost of gas, groceries, and so much more. While our economic recovery progresses and causes demand to increase, the availability of goods is down because of pandemic induced supply chain problems. This creates the situation we see today.

With the situation we are facing, what can we do to bounce back and ensure long-term economic growth? One thing is for sure: The recently passed federal infrastructure bill is the boost that our economy needs, and it’s a significant win for Western New York. I thank Sen. Schumer, Sen. Gillibrand, and Congressman Higgins for working so diligently to pass President Biden’s infrastructure bill, which will deliver federal dollars directly to New York to address a wide variety of the challenges we face.

Roads, bridges, airports, broadband, clean water, and so much more – we can make lasting change on all of these fronts with the funding available from the new federal infrastructure bill. We have countless roads and bridges in need of repair, communities divided by highways that need to be reunited, lead pipes in need of replacement, and communities without access to high-speed internet. This historic investment in infrastructure is a game-changer for our country and for local projects here in Western New York.

Most importantly, all of these investments mean jobs for our community and communities across America. Best of all, these are the types of good-paying union jobs that our economy needs now and in the long term. We are working hard to transform our workforce and prepare our economy for the jobs of the future. There are many jobs out there that do not require a four-year degree, and New York has led the way in investing in job training to ensure our workforce is prepared. Federal infrastructure dollars will mean greater availability of these types of jobs. This is a perfect scenario for our economy to meet the needs of our people.

In this time of uncertainty, we know that the investments we make today will pay dividends long into the future. Stronger infrastructure will mean continued job growth, a transportation network ready for the future, and improved quality of life for families here in Western New York. Though we face challenges ahead, this long-overdue funding is a smart investment that will move us in the right direction.