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White House issues data on states' infrastructure needs

The Biden administration report on the country's infrastructure

The Biden administration report on the country's infrastructure needs released Monday also issued a report card for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Most states averaged about a C grade. Above, people sit at the base of a transmission tower in North Arlington, N.J., earlier this month. Credit: AP / Seth Wenig

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration, looking to make the case for its $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal, released data on Monday for all 50 states that it says illustrates the need for a sweeping package to address crumbling roads and aging bridges, including more than 7,000 "miles of highway in poor condition" in New York.

"For decades, infrastructure in New York has suffered from a systemic lack of investment. The need for action is clear," The White House said in a two-page report on the state’s infrastructure needs.

The report was released hours before President Joe Biden met with a group of bipartisan lawmakers at the White House, looking to generate support for a plan that Republicans have said is too costly and that some Democrats have argued is not expansive enough.

In New York "there are 1,702 bridges and over 7,292 miles of highway in poor condition," according to the report, which also notes that "commute times have increased by 7.4%" over the past decade. The report primarily identifies broad needs and does not detail how much money from Biden’s proposal would be allocated for New York and how much of the state’s needs would be met by the plan.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in a briefing with regional reporters on Monday, said the administration envisions that if Congress approves Biden’s plan, funding will be doled out via a mix of competitive grants that localities will apply for in addition to traditional formula grants based on requirements laid out by the federal government.

"We're trying to position the [Transportation] Department to be able to support projects, large and small," Buttigieg said.

The administration also issued a report card for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, with most states averaging about a C grade. New York received a C minus. The highest grades went to Georgia and Utah, which received a C plus, and the lowest grade went to Puerto Rico with a D minus.

Asked how the administration reached its findings, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the grades were assigned by White House economic officials, but she did not provide details on which criteria was used to assign the grades.

Biden, speaking to reporters before the start of his meeting with four congressional Republicans and four Democrats, said he was "prepared to negotiate" on the scope and cost of the plan.

"I think everyone acknowledges we need significant increase in infrastructure. It's going to get down to what we call infrastructure," Biden said, adding that under his definition of infrastructure "it's not just roads, bridges, highways."

Republicans have voiced opposition to Biden’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% to help pay for the eight-year plan. Psaki said the president was open to hearing proposals from leaders on both sides of the aisle on how to pay for it.

"He’s proposed a way to pay for it, which is what he thinks the responsible thing is to do, and he hopes they’ll come to the table with ideas," Psaki said.

Other New York infrastructure needs listed in the report include $22.8 billion in funding over the next 20 years to upgrade the state’s "drinking water infrastructure," and an unspecified amount of money to modernize public transportation systems in the state. The report notes that 11% "of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life."

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