Economy

“Infrastructure Week” May Not Be Just a Joke Under Biden

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

President Biden is meeting with senators from both parties today where he will call for passing a significant infrastructure spending and investment bill to modernize the nation's infrastructure.

Unlike the joke that was Trump's "Infrastructure Week," the Biden administration is preparing to actually put some meat on their plan.

Biden has pledged to ask Congress this month for what he has referred to as “historic investments in infrastructure and manufacturing, innovation, research and development, and clean energy.” Studies have concluded that close to half of U.S. roads are in poor or mediocre condition and more than a third of U.S. bridges need repair, replacement or significant rehabilitation.

Buttigieg told Reuters last week the U.S. government needs to rebuild the transportation sector for post-pandemic times “with an eye to the future because every form of travel is evolving and the 2020s specifically, I think, will be a decade that has some of the swiftest changes and transformations that we’ve seen really in modern times.”

Trump also called for passing an infrastructure bill, as you probably recall, but it was a farce.

Trump's proposal -- the only proposal ever considered by Republicans who controlled both chambers of Congress at the time -- was a bill that would include just $200 billion in new federal spending with an additional $1.5 trillion that was suppose to be conjured out of thin air through unspecified private sector spending.

Although infrastructure spending is ostensibly bipartisan, I don't think anyone should be under any illusions. Republicans still regularly vote for annual transportation budgets, but they're never going to agree to a major expansion of those budgets. Passing a significant spending bill will require taking extraordinary measures including the use of reconciliation.

It will be some time before a bill materializes and moves through Congress and there's no guarantee it will ever happen, but I hope it does. Amtrak is considering an expansion that would finally bring train service to the area I live in. I've never lived somewhere with train access and I would very much like to. I would probably travel between Cincinnati and Dayton more often if I could take train there and back. I'm certain that many people would.

My local desires aside, the bigger picture is that we need to update our infrastructure to prepare for the near-future economy that will be include electric cars, driverless cars, automated delivery services, drones, and everything in between. All of the things I just mentioned are already in use or in testing across the country.