IF YOU’VE driven along the New Hampshire Seacoast, you’re probably very familiar with the Hampton Bridge. This vital connector on Route 1A spans the Hampton River and carries 18,000 vehicles a day during the height of the summer season. It once held the distinction of the longest wooden bridge in America. It now holds a more ominous title: New Hampshire’s No. 1 Red-Listed Bridge.

This summer I toured the Hampton Bridge with local and state leaders who stressed the importance of replacing this bridge and making badly needed investments in our infrastructure. They connected the project to jobs, public safety and the region’s economy. It’s a conversation I’ve had countless times while serving in Congress.

Whether it’s that bridge in Hampton, safety upgrades along a major corridor in Bedford, failing sewer lines in Exeter, or a broadband desert in Carroll County, the refrain I hear from Granite Staters could not be clearer: it’s time to rebuild our state and invest in our communities.

And the question I hear next is also familiar: why hasn’t it happened yet?

As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I spend a great deal of my time in Congress focused on infrastructure. And through the last three years, I have been working to craft and pass legislation that will create good jobs and help us rebuild our roads and bridges, upgrade water systems, ensure climate resilience, and deliver high-speed broadband to every home, business and school in the state.

After months of work in the House and Senate, we reached an agreement. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act addresses our most pressing infrastructure challenges head-on. This bill will deliver a 47% funding increase in 2022 for the Granite State. It also makes the largest federal investment in public transit ever, the largest federal investment in rail since the creation of Amtrak, the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system, and the largest investment in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in American history.

The bill cleared the Senate with 69 votes and received support from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Most Americans know that’s a feat that just doesn’t happen on its own. Passing a major, bipartisan program like this takes commitment from all sides, deliberation and a willingness to not let the perfect be the enemy of the possible.

So did it pass the House? No. In fact, it hasn’t even come up for a vote yet, and that is absolutely unacceptable despite broad support. The sad truth is this bill is falling victim to the same tired Washington gamesmanship that puts point-scoring and politics over progress for our country.

We simply cannot allow this infrastructure bill to fail and miss this pivotal opportunity to build a brighter future. The latest report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers gives America’s infrastructure a grade of C-, and the cost of doing nothing is immense. ASCE estimates at this current level of underinvestment that we will forfeit $10 trillion of economic activity and 3 million jobs by the end of the next decade. Outmoded infrastructure will also wind up costing the average American family an estimated $3,300 per year.

The voters of New Hampshire sent me to Washington to work for them. And just like New Hampshire’s small businesses and families, Congress should be able to multitask. We can pass an infrastructure bill while we work toward crafting legislation to tackle climate change, invest in the care economy, expand tax cuts for working families, and lower the costs of prescription drugs, child care and college.

But we won’t be successful at addressing these priorities, continuing to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, and tackling a myriad of other challenges, if a few politicians continue to be more interested in playing to their base or going viral on Twitter than helping solve problems.

Passing the infrastructure bill will deliver real, meaningful results for New Hampshire that will impact everyone who drives on our roads, connects to the internet, and drinks water from their kitchen sink. And we can do it in a bipartisan fashion that shows that Washington can still work for the people who sent us there.

I urge colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put aside politics, think about the people we serve, and pass this infrastructure bill.

Rep. Chris Pappas (D) represents New Hampshire’s First Congressional District and serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. He lives in Manchester.

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