Infrastructure law spends $250M to remove wild parsnips, other invasive plants from roads, railways

Also targeted for elimination by mowing or other best practices: cheatgrass, Ventenata dubia, medusahead, bulbous bluegrass, Japanese brome, rattail fescue, Japanese honeysuckle, phragmites, autumn olive, Bradford pear, sericea lespedeza, spotted knapweed, garlic mustard, and palmer amaranth.

Updated: November 20, 2021 - 11:43pm

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This week's Golden Horseshoe is awarded once again to the Biden administration and members of Congress who voted for the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which appropriates $250 million for the removal of invasive plants along the country's roadways.

The infrastructure act includes the "Invasive Plant Elimination Program," and for the next five fiscal years the cost to taxpayers will be $50 million per year.

Section 11522 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act defines invasive plants as "a non-native plant, tree, grass or weed species." Numerous species are targeted for removal in the legislation, "including, at a minimum, cheatgrass, Ventenata dubia, medusahead, bulbous bluegrass, Japanese brome, rattail fescue, Japanese honeysuckle, phragmites, autumn olive, Bradford pear, wild parsnip, sericea lespedeza, spotted knapweed, garlic mustard, and palmer amaranth.”

The legislation calls for the invasive plants to be removed along roads, highways, railroads or other transportation routes.

States will be receiving the grants to "eliminate or control existing invasive plants or prevent introduction of or encroachment by new invasive plants along and in areas adjacent to transportation corridor rights-of-way."

Mowing along roadways may be funded, if "mowing is identified as the best means of treatment according to best management practices or mowing is used in conjunction with another treatment."

In a victory for the bee lobby, the act reserves $10 million over the next five years for projects planting native plants and wildflowers which are "pollinator-friendly" on "roadsides and highways."

President Biden signed the infrastructure bill into law last Monday, saying, "My message to the American people is this: America is moving again, and your life is going to change for the better."

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