The fact that Congress finally passed an infrastructure bill is an occasion worth celebrating.

The $1.2 trillion package will deliver $550 billion in new federal investments over five years.

Analysts say Illinois is set to receive at least $17 billion from this historic legislation. More could come through transportation grants for specific projects.

Here’s a snapshot of what the bill includes just for the state of Illinois:

• $9.8 billion for highways and $1.4 billion for bridges over the next five years. The White House says Illinois has 2,374 bridges and 6,218 miles of highway in poor condition.

• $4.0 billion over five years to improve public transportation options across the state.

• $149 million over five years to support the expansion of an electric vehicle charging network. Illinois will also have a chance to apply for a portion of the $2.5 billion in grant funding set aside in the bill.

• At least $100 million to help in providing broadband coverage across the state. The bill will bring such access to at least 228,000 Illinoisans who currently lack it. More than 2.9 million Illinoisans, or 23% of the state population, would be eligible for a connectivity benefit to make internet access affordable.

• $27 million over five years to protect its infrastructure against wildfires and $22 million to protect that infrastructure against cyberattacks. The White House says Illinois will also share in the $3.5 billion set aside nationally to invest in weatherization efforts to reduce energy costs for American families.

• $616 million for infrastructure improvements at airports over five years.

• 1.7 billion over five years to upgrade the state’s water infrastructure. The measure would replace lead service lines and pipes so that communities have access to clean drinking water.

Supporters had pledged the bill would pay for itself without raising taxes, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office disagrees, saying the bill will add $256 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

Still, this measure is needed. For decades, the infrastructure in Illinois and across the country has suffered from a lack of investments. The nation’s infrastructure earned a C-minus from the American Society of Civil Engineers this year, as did the state of Illinois. Nearly everyone agrees the work this legislation will support is long overdue.

The measure was advanced in part by strong support from Illinois’ two Democratic senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. Several strong Illinois Democratic representatives in the House also contributed to the creation of the bill. It is also notable that at least one Illinois Republican congressman, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, voted in favor of the bill, one of only 13 GOP reps to do so.

Sadly, Vermilion County’s U.S. representative, Mary Miller of Oakland, opposed the measure that will help so many communities and people in this region of the state for years to come. The people of Vermilion County have every right to hold her accountable for such a misguided and irresponsible vote.

The impact of this will be enormous. It will create good-paying jobs and boost the economy. It will make life better for millions of Illinoisans.

President Joe Biden signed the bill on Monday. Both parties should join in a toast to celebrate.

This is legislation whose impact will be felt for years to come.

The Herald Bulletin of Anderson, Ind., contributed to this editorial.

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