Biden infrastructure plan includes $115 billion for highways and bridges

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Updated Apr 3, 2021
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President Joseph Biden today announced a sweeping $2 trillion, eight-year infrastructure plan that, among other things, will repair and modernize 20,000 miles of this country's highways and replace the 10 "most economically significant" large bridges, and repair 10,000 smaller bridges that are in bad shape. 

In all, Biden's American Jobs Plan calls for spending a total of $621 billion on transportation issues. That includes:

  • $115 billion to repair and modernize highways, roads and streets and repair bridges
  • $85 billion for mass transit
  • $80 billion for passenger rail service repairs and improvements
  • $25 billion for airports
  • $17 billion for ports and inland waterways

The plan, which Biden unveiled this afternoon at a carpenters' union training facility in Collier, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, also includes $174 billion to encourage and support the purchase and use of electric vehicles. It includes incentives and tax breaks for individuals to buy American-made electric vehicles, money to support the construction of 500,000 electric charging stations around the country and replace diesel-powered transit and school buses with ones powered by electricity.

During his speech, Biden recognized that getting his plan through Congress will be difficult, but made it clear he believes it must be accomplished.

"Historically, infrastructure has always been a bipartisan issue," he said, and cited how Republican Abraham Lincoln led the building of this nation's railroads and how Dwight Eisenhower, also a Republican, created the interstate highway system. "There is no reason it cannot be bipartisan again."

He added, "We have to get this done. We can do this. We will do this."

Biden expects to pay for his plan, which some have likened to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, by raising the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% and increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Biden said 91 of America's Fortune 500 companies "do not pay one cent in federal income taxes and that's just wrong."

He said raising the corporate rate back to 28% will create $1 trillion over 15 years.

Biden's plan also has:

  • $111 billion to improve water systems, including replacing lead pipes he said pose threats to millions of school children and others
  • $100 billion for improving the country's electrical transmission system and begin a shift to clean energy
  • $100 billion for schools, community colleges, and child care facilities
  • $100 billion for the digital infrastructure, including 100% coverage of the nation with high-speed broadband access

But, true to its name, the American Jobs Plan spends on things other than what most consider traditional infrastructure. The plan calls for spending:

  • $400 billion on home health care services, including improving pay for workers
  • $300 billion on manufacturing
  • $213 billion on building and improving 2 million homes and apartments
  • $180 billion research and development in critical technologies and climate change
  • $100 billion on workforce development
  • $18 billion on veterans hospitals and government buildings

A White House fact sheet on Biden's plan said, "This is the moment to reimagine and rebuild a new economy. 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 out-compete China. Public domestic investment as a share of the economy has fallen by more than 40 percent 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."

During his speech, Biden called his plan "a once in a generation opportunity" and will create millions of good-paying jobs. 

Biden's plan will face an uphill battle in Congress, as Republicans have spoken out against raising taxes of any kind. 

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