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States siphoned away $750 million in infrastructure law climate funds

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece in The Washington Post or enjoy below 

🗞️ Driving the news: The new U.S. infrastructure law designed to enhance environmental safeguarding and mitigate carbon emissions on highways is witnessing substantial funds rerouted towards routine highway construction
• Federal Highway Administration documents reveal that roughly $755 million was reallocated last year (more than ¼ of annual climate-centric initiative budget)
States like California and New York have moved $97 million and $36 million respectively 

🔭 The context: The Infrastructure law of 2021 was formulated with bipartisan support
• However, the flexibility of states to use federal highway funding has impeded efforts by Democrats and the Biden administration to make environmental strides
• The diversion of funds from climate initiatives, despite escalating weather phenomena, underscores the substantial discretion states have to bypass federal objectives

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: The trend of funds being diverted away from their climate-centered purpose shows a fundamental tension in implementing the 2021 law and realizing its environmental goals

⏭️ What's next: Several states report that they are in the process of formulating plans on how to utilize these funds, with some blaming slow guidance for their inability to act faster

💬 One quote: "The Biden Administration recognizes climate change as a crisis facing our nation and has adopted a whole of government response, which has already meant critical new investments in carbon emissions reduction and resiliency in all elements of our nation’s infrastructure” (Shailen Bhatt, Administrator of FHWA)

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