By Senator Lena C. Taylor
Now that the noise level has been turned down, voters are starting to realize they were sold a bill of goods. Many have been quick to note how quickly gas prices fell after Election Day. Within a three to four day window, prices dropped by as much as sixty cents at some Milwaukee area gas pumps. The ceiling no longer seems to be falling and the floor has not been snatched out from under us.
Even the polling about President Biden’s approval rating, did not land in a way that many political pundits and strategists predicted. The numbers don’t lie. Under Biden’s leadership, Democrats did better than expected during the midterm elections. He gave them something to talk about and voters saw tangible results from his first two years in office.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, for just a moment. It was just about a year ago that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed. The Biden-Harris Administration was confident that it was going to be a “a once-in-a-generation investment” that would create millions of jobs while modernizing our roads, bridges, and broadband. The Act was going to address the climate crisis and put us on a path to transform our transportation system.
While political insiders thought the inflation and immediate bread and butter issues would drive election results, Americans demonstrated the ability to see the big picture. Voters looked around and could see the impact of the Biden presidency and it wasn’t too bad. Specifically, Wisconsinites understand what it means to have over $2.7 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding headed to the state.
Wisconsin has 160 specific projects identified for funding. The work will include work on roads, bridges, public transit, ports and airports. Over $150 million will go to ensure clean water and nearly 300,000 Badger households have obtained affordable internet. I don’t know how many people realize that nearly 25% of Wisconsin homes don’t have internet service.
Yet, some 849,000 households in the state are now eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which cuts internet bills by up to $30 per month, or $75 for households on Tribal lands, and provides a one-time $100 discount off a connected device. About 279,000 households, in Wisconsin, have enrolled in the program. And in case you need the information, households can check their eligibility, sign up, and find fully covered internet plans at GetInternet.gov.
While millions were spent to make crime and cash bail an election issue, and divisive racial tropes and stereotypes were intended to pit the electorate against each other, voters understood Biden’s work to replace lead service lines and provide clean drinking water. We took note in Milwaukee, when announcements of the first-ever dedicated federal funding to replace lead service lines and address dangerous PFAS chemicals were made.
Voters also understood, that while republicans were gas lighting them on the issues, the Biden-Harris administration were offering up solutions. The Infrastructure Act did much more and is a signal to members of the GOP. You can’t just be the “party of no”, at some point, you have to govern. Let’s see if they will take the hint.