President Joe Biden on Tuesday visited an 82-year-old steel bridge in rural New Hampshire that he pointed to as an example of how one of his biggest legislative victories will benefit communities across the country.
Biden said the bridge, which crosses the Pemigewasset River in the town of Woodstock, is just one of hundreds in urgent need of repair. The newly enacted infrastructure law, he said, will give states the funding to tackle those projects.
“This law is a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America and leaves nobody behind,” Biden said.
The president also talked about how the $555 billion measure will expand broadband access, replace lead pipes and address the effects of climate change.
The bipartisan package will pump billions into shoring up the nation’s roads, bridges, airports and seaports.
Tuesday’s event in New Hampshire, a day after a bill signing ceremony at the White House, is the first in a series of trips Biden and top administration officials plan to make to sell the infrastructure law to voters, with less than a year before the 2022 midterm elections. Biden is slated to travel to Detroit on Wednesday to meet with UAW workers who are building the next generation of electric vehicles.
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, along with first lady Jill Biden and Cabinet officials will be making a similar push for the infrastructure law, the White House said.
Those efforts come alongside the administration’s goal to pass a $1.75 trillion social safety net bill that could be voted on by the House as early as this week. Biden said Tuesday he was confident that House lawmakers would pass the bill in the coming days.
The bridge in Woodstock has been on New Hampshire’s “red list” since 2013, meaning it’s considered “structurally deficient” and requires inspections twice a year.
Biden said the bridge can only carry 20 ton trucks, rather than 40 ton trucks, and that without the bridge it would be a 10 mile detour to cross the river.
“These bridges are essential in small towns, rural areas, to farmers and small businesses, like in my state of Delaware,” Biden said.
Biden’s visit comes after the state’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu, said he would not run for the U.S. Senate. Sununu was a top GOP recruit to take on incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan, and his decision to instead seek re-election delivered a blow to the party’s hopes of regaining control of the Senate. Polls have found Hassan vulnerable to a strong challenge.