WASHINGTON D.C., DC — U.S. Senators voted 67-32 Wednesday to advance the more than $1 trillion infrastructure bill that now includes $550 billion in new federal funding. The move comes after months of negotiations between a core group of 10 senators: five Democrats, and five Republicans.
Maine's Republican Senator Susan Collins is part of that group and spoke with NEWS CENTER Maine Thursday about the process the bill is making.
“I was absolutely delighted with the strong bipartisan vote that we received last night on our infrastructure package," Collins said.
The current language of the package includes $65 billion for broadband investment and $40 billion set aside for bridge and road improvement. These two sectors will most impact Maine according to Collins.
"We still have so many parts of our state that are either lacking in access to broadband altogether or have unreliable, slow broadband and if we can smooth that out and provide access to high-speed internet services throughout our state, it will truly make a difference," Collins said.
The senator added her home state has nearly 1,500 miles of road and 315 bridges that are considered to be in poor condition which makes it more difficult for travel and shipping goods.
Collins and New Hampshire's Democratic Senator Jeane Shaheen ran point in the broadband discussions during the weeks of negotiations. Collins said the two worked hard to reach an agreement with each other, the broader group of Senators and the Biden administration.
The Senate will now debate the bill and Collins expects there will be amendments and further debate next week.
"My hope is that we’ll finish the bill by the end of next week and I think that’s very doable, and I’m optimistic that we’ll have a strong positive vote too, for the Senate to approve the bill.”
Watch the full interview with Collins below: