As congressional leaders juggle three different infrastructure bills, Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne says the one that passed the U.S. House Thursday includes nearly $22 million for six projects in southwest Iowa.
Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, says she’s still lobbying to include funding for biofuels in the infrastructure plans being crafted.
“This bill that the president wants to see is to address climate as well as the infrastructure issues that we’re facing,” Axne says. “We have a tool in our toolbox right now that can be used.”
Axne had a meeting with the administrator of the E-P-A on the topic Tuesday. On Wednesday, she spoke directly with President Biden. Axne points to new research showing ethanol and biodiesel have far lower greenhouse gas emissions than fuels that are solely petroleum based.
“We know it’s the right thing to do,” Axne says, “and we know that when we get this in there people are going to say: ‘Why the heck have we been overlooking this for far too long? We should be expanding this.'”
Axne also supports including child care in one of these infrastructure packages. Axne says at every one of her town hall meetings she hears from businesses and individuals about a lack of child care slots.
“Until we get a grasp on opportunity through child care for Iowa families, we are literally stopping families from having economic success because we’ve got at least one parent that can’t work,” Axne says. “And if you’re a single parent, I can only imagine. What are you doing? You’re struggling to find opportunity.”
The infrastructure bill that cleared the House Thursday is the annual transportation spending plan. It includes money for replacing a bridge in Red Oak, upgrades to a highway on the eastern edge of the Des Moines metro and millions for five transit systems in southwest Iowa.
There’s also money for a transportation project at Camp Dodge, the Iowa National Guard’s home base. The bill could become the vehicle for all the infrastructure plans floating around Washington since it must be passed to ensure basic federal transportation programs can operate in the next fiscal year.