The White House recently released an outline of President Biden’s vision for the future: a $2 trillion, 10-year American Jobs Plan that includes upgrading transportation infrastructure as well as renewing the electric grid, high-speed broadband to all parts of the U.S. and delivering clean drinking water.
Biden’s American Jobs Plan combines many of the same elements contained in previous infrastructure projects with some newer elements not found in past proposals.
Previous infrastructure projects were designed to build riverways, roads, and canals. Later came railroads, telephone systems, electric lines, and natural gas pipelines. More recent proposals have included the Internet and interstate banking.
The current plan Biden has proposed features similar traditional infrastructure components including roads, waterways, and airports, but adds much that is new including long-term care, a ban on exclusionary housing, and investments in community-based anti-violence programs, to name a few.
“The American Jobs Plan is an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure and position the United States to outcompete China,” the plan states. “Public domestic investment as a share of the economy has fallen by more than 40% since the 1960s. The American Jobs Plan will invest in America in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways and won the space race.”
Because 20% of the country’s highways and major roads are in poor condition, as well as 45,000 bridges, the plan calls for investing an additional $621 billion in transportation infrastructure, including $115 billion to modernize highways, roads, and bridges that are in most need of repair. Biden’s plan explains that “delays caused by traffic congestion alone cost over $160 billion per year, and motorists are forced to pay over $1,000 every year in wasted time and fuel.”
The plan includes $20 billion to improve road safety, which includes a new Safe Streets for All program to fund state and local “vision-zero” plans to reduce crashes and fatalities.
Biden’s plan points out that unlike highways and transit, rail lacks a multiyear funding stream to address deferred maintenance and to build new lines, and calls on Congress to invest $80 billion to tackle Amtrak’s repair backlog and enhance grant and loan programs that support both passenger and freight rail safety.
“Our ports and waterways need repair and reimagination too,” the plan states, and calls on Congress to invest $17 billion in inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry, and ferries, “which are all essential to our nation’s freight.” It includes a Healthy Ports program to mitigate the cumulative impacts of air pollution on neighborhoods near ports. Biden is also seeking $25 billion to invest in airports, including funding for the Airport Improvement Program. “These investments will position the United States as a global leader in clean freight and aviation.”
“I think that this plan reflects the president’s commitment to recognizing the moment that we are in as an important moment to demonstrate that the United States and democracies can deliver for the people that they serve,” a senior administration official told reporters.
“Infrastructure isn’t just about roads and bridges — it’s about our global competitiveness. And as we continue to fall back, the rest of the world is closing in. We can’t allow this to continue. We have to invest in America again,” Tweeted Biden on the plan on March 31st.
What do you think about the new plan?
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