By Danny Shapiro
U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a lead Democratic negotiator for the highly anticipated $1 trillion infrastructure bill, called the plan’s passage by the Senate on Tuesday a triumph for bipartisanship.
Sinema played a key role in what resulted in a 69-30 vote for the plan, a cornerstone of President Joe Biden’s agenda.
“How many times have we heard in recent months that bipartisanship isn’t possible anymore?” Sinema said in a press release. “It’s easy for politicians to stay in their partisan corners. I promised Arizonans something different – that I would work with anyone to get lasting results for our state.
“I’m incredibly proud to have co-led this bill to create jobs and expand economic opportunity in communities across America.”
Sinema also gave a nod to the late fellow Arizona Sen. John McCain and said she was trying to follow his example to “reach bipartisan agreements that try to bring the country together.”
She was among a group of 10 senators — split evenly among Democrats and Republicans — who routinely met to make headway on the piece of legislation, one in which she said was rare in its overall impact to the American population.
The bipartisan group of senators who met often grew to 22 members and included fellow Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona.
Kelly was also a supporter of the plan, which will now head to the House.
“This legislation is the product of working together, Republicans and Democrats, to find common ground and work out our differences, and the result is going to be historic investments that create high-paying jobs and bring our economy into the future,” Kelly said in a press release.
The measure proposes nearly $550 billion in new spending over five years in addition to current federal authorizations for public works that will reach virtually every corner of the country — a potentially historic expenditure Biden has put on par with the building of the transcontinental railroad or interstate highway system.
There’s money to rebuild roads and bridges, and also to shore up coastlines against climate change, protect public utility systems from cyberattacks and modernize the electric grid.
Arizona would get $5 billion for federal aid highway apportioned programs, $884 million for transit systems and $225 million for bridge replacement and repair.