They have a deal: Murkowski, bipartisan senators’ group, get infrastructure bill to square 1

street scene in front of Capitol
The street in front of the U.S. Capitol could use resurfacing. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

After weeks of negotiations, a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill is advancing in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski was part of a bipartisan group that reached the deal with the White House. She told reporters at the Capitol the bill will go a long way toward rebuilding America’s lagging infrastructure “and helping in many parts of the country where infrastructure doesn’t exist at all.”

The Senate voted 67-32 Wednesday to begin debate on the bill. Several more votes lie ahead.

The bill has $550 billion in new spending on infrastructure, with the rest coming from regular federal spending on highways and other transportation. Some of the new spending would be on systems that are especially limited in rural Alaska: broadband, drinking water and sewers

Murkowski said the bill sets good policy for the country.

“This is also important to demonstrate that Republicans and Democrats can come together over really hard stuff, to negotiate in good faith and to negotiate an agreement,” she said.

Sen. Dan Sullivan was one of the 32 Republicans who voted no on advancing the bill. A spokesman said he is waiting to see the bill language.

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska issues in Washington as the network's D.C. correspondent. She was born in Anchorage and is a West High grad. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. She previously worked at the Homer News, the Anchorage Daily News and the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers. She also freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013. She's @lruskin on Twitter. She welcomes your news tips at lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz