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Environmental advocates say federal infrastructure funds could have huge impact on Texas

An oil wellhead and flowline stand in a field, coated in thick, black oil buildup.
Eric Gay
One way the federal infrastructure bill could help Texas is by providing funds to clean up abandoned oil wells in the state.

Advocates in Texas say the infrastructure deal President Biden signed into law this week will help improve the state’s roads, water, and transportation systems.

Environmental advocates in Texas believe the recently signed $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure package will be huge for the state. President Biden signed the bipartisan deal into law Monday.

Over the next five years, Texas is set to receive about $35 billion,according to the White House.

Luke Metzger, the executive director of Environment Texas, said some of that money will go toward cleaning up the water across the state.

“Texas overall is expected to receive about $2.9 billion over the next five years,” he said. “So, that's a huge shot in the arm to make sure our water is safe to drink and safe to swim in.”

Metzger said other funding will help provide cleaner ways to travel or transport goods, like passenger and freight rail.

“So, for example, Amtrak has proposed extending rail service to connect Dallas to Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston,” he added. “There’s also, of course, the proposed high speed rail that would connect Dallas and Houston. All of those kinds of projects could potentially benefit from the infrastructure bill.”

Metzger said he’s also excited about how the infrastructure deal could be transformational for Texas in other ways.

“You know, investing in transit, and bike lanes, electric vehicles, helping clean up abandoned oil wells and toxic waste dumps, helping strengthen our electric grid to withstand the ravages of climate change,” he said. “So, this is a really big deal!”

Metzer’s groupis also keeping an eye on President Biden’s social spending and climate change package known as the Build Back Better Act, particularly its “clean energy tax incentives and other investments to tackle pollution.”

The U.S. House passed the bill Friday. The legislation now heads to the Senate.