VP Harris promotes infrastructure law in Charlotte

By | August 31, 2023
VP Harris promotes infrastructure law in Charlotte

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Vice President Kamala Harris came to the Queen City Thursday to talk about the White House’s newly-signed infrastructure bill.

The vice president departed Air Force Two after it landed at Charlotte Douglas International Airport around 10:45 a.m. She was greeted by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, who gave her a hug.

It was the vice president’s first visit to Charlotte since taking office. The last time Harris was in North Carolina was back in April to discuss the American Jobs Plan.

For Thursday’s visit, Harris was joined by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, and Cooper to discuss the newly-signed infrastructure bill and how it will impact the Carolinas.

Related: Roads, transit, internet: What’s in the infrastructure bill

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, traffic delays were expected during the visit.

Officers said traffic between Charlotte Douglas International Airport and South End were to be affected between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

After landing, Harris was taken to a transit center in Charlotte’s South End. She spoke with officials there about the city’s transportation capabilities. At one point, the vice president even got behind the wheel of a bus and honked the horn, eliciting laughs from those traveling with her.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles began the formal ceremony with an introduction. She was followed by Cooper, who praised the Biden Administration’s recently-passed legislation.

“Finally, we can celebrate the long-promised infrastructure bill,” the governor said.

With a Charlotte transit bus behind her, Harris proclaimed that “America is moving again” after the passage of the infrastructure act.

“For millions of Americans, public transportation is part of their day every day,” she said.

Harris noted that N.C will receive $910 million for public transit over the next five years, money that will benefit places like the Queen City.

“World-class cities like Charlotte deserve world-class transportation systems,” Harris said.

Congress passed the $1 trillion plan on Nov. 6 and President Biden signed it on Nov. 15. WBTV previously reported North Carolina will get billions of dollars for roads, bridges, and high-speed internet access.

According to the White House, over the next five years, N.C. will get more than $7 billion for highways to address more than 3,100 miles of roads in poor condition.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation says the specific list of projects is not yet decided.

“We appreciate that our federal leaders understand the value and need for reliable transportation infrastructure that gets people to work, to health care or educational opportunities. While we don’t yet know which specific projects will benefit from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds, they will help us offset some cost increases impacting material, right of way and labor costs and support our efforts to build resilient infrastructure and enhance all our transportation modes,” NCDOT’s Jen Thompson said in a statement to WBTV.

There are more than 1,400 bridges on that list as well. The package contains more than $450 million for that.

More than 1 million people in N.C. don’t have high-speed internet or can’t afford it. The infrastructure package contains at least $100 million to address that.

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