Romney praises bipartisanship during Summit County stop, but says November will decide future cooperation
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney on Monday praised bipartisan efforts to improve the nation’s infrastructure, particularly in Utah, during a stop in Summit County, but said future cooperation will be decided on Election Day.
Romney was visiting Summit County for the groundbreaking of the new High Valley Transit District headquarters. The facility received around $25 million in federal funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Joe Biden last year. Romney was one of a few GOP members who negotiated in support of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which is a nationwide initiative to modernize roads, bridges, transit, broadband and other public infrastructure, last August.
“I was really fortunate that a group of Democrats and a group of Republicans came together and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s cut back the couple of trillions that the Biden administration wants for infrastructure,’ instead cut it to about one-quarter of that size, but focus on the real things we need to do — transit centers where they’re needed, water projects, getting internet capacity into our rural communities — that’s what we were able to do and we’re pretty proud of being able to work together,” he said in response to a question from The Park Record.
Romney continued, “What happens in the future, depends on what happens in November.”
The Republican was a strong advocate of the bill for the funding it could provide Utah. As one of the fastest growing states in the country, Romney said after the bill’s passage, the state is seriously in need of additional infrastructure. He praised the law as an important compromise.
“This is the kind of thing people expect the government to do for them, and now and then, the government does the right job,” he said on Monday.
The Wasatch Back is experiencing rapid growth and public transit is “good all around,” he continued. Romney said officials aren’t telling people not to drive their cars, but they are making sure people have alternatives that limit environmental damage and congestion.
Romney was the lone member of the state’s all-Republican delegation to vote for the bill. It was initially criticized as an ambitious spending plan, with some Democrats advocating for expanding social programs as part of the initiative, leading to many members of the GOP voting against it.
Rep. John Curtis offered a different perspective from Romney. He said the bill came to the House of Representatives after the Senate vote with no amendments and “no opportunity to influence it.”
“While I appreciate their work and appreciate the bipartisan nature of it, it was very frustrating in the House side to just have a thumbs-up or thumbs-down vote and not be able to say, ‘I think it should have this,’ or ‘how about this.’ For instance, one of my pet projects is methane in cities. I would have loved to have money in there for infrastructure for methane. It’s a small thing, but it’s frustrating that it didn’t even have a shot,” he said.