Our infrastructure is a mess. Biden has a plan to fix it.
Part of a Series
If there’s ever a time to make big, bold investments in America’s workers, infrastructure, and future, it’s now.
This piece was originally published in the March 29, 2021 edition of CAP Action’s newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.
“Right now, I’m scared. I’m asking you to just hold on a little while longer…so that you and others will still be here once this pandemic ends.”
— CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, pausing for a moment during a briefing today to speak openly about new, alarming COVID surges in several states
The stimulus checks from Biden’s American Rescue Plan are about more than just money in pockets.
IN THE NEWS
- We’ve heard it a million times: America’s infrastructure is in need of an upgrade. Our bridges are crumbling, our potholes are unfilled, our internet is slow, our pipes are freezing, our public transit is severely lacking, our school buildings are decades older than the students inside them — you name it. It’s all infrastructure, and it all impacts the lives and slows the commutes of millions of Americans every day. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also making the climate crisis worse.
- Earlier this month, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave U.S. infrastructure an overall grade of C-minus. In several areas, we only earned scores in the “D” range. “This is not a report card anyone would be proud to take home,” said the ASCE’s Executive Director. According to the report, the U.S. is only spending about half of what we should be spending on infrastructure — and that’s just to bring us up to modern standards. It’s estimated that the U.S. will face a $2.59 trillion shortfall in infrastructure funding in the next decade.
- Thankfully, it’s looking like we might finally make some long overdue progress on modernizing our infrastructure. President Biden is set to unveil early details of his forthcoming infrastructure bill this Wednesday at an event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania centered around his promise to “build back better” following the mess left behind by the Trump administration. The legislation will likely come in two parts — part one focused on bridges, roads, and the like, and part two on health care and child care — and will be the administration’s main focus following the passage of the American Rescue Plan earlier this month.
- Reporting from the Washington Post suggests that the White House is not messing around on this issue. Biden and his team are said to be aiming for as much as $3 to $4 trillion in infrastructure investments with this “Build Back Better” proposal. Economists say this is a great idea. According to a new report from Axios, the S&P is predicting that “Biden’s infrastructure plan will create 2.3 million jobs by 2024, inject $5.7 trillion into the economy — which would be 10 times what was lost during the recession — and raise per-capita income by $2,400.” All these new jobs can also make huge gains in our fight against the climate crisis.
- If there’s ever a time to make big, bold investments in America’s workers, its infrastructure, and its future, that time is right now. And it’s not just economists who agree with that sentiment. New polling from Data for Progress found that nearly 70% of Americans are “highly enthusiastic” about a Build Back Better plan that invests $4 trillion into solving our nation’s infrastructure challenges.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Tackling the climate crisis and fixing America’s crumbling infrastructure are inherently connected. Just think back to the crisis across Texas last month when a snowstorm — which experts say was made more extreme by climate change — knocked out the power grid and left millions of Texans stranded in their homes for days without power, heat, or running water. The Dallas Morning News recently reported that the February winter weather disaster and subsequent power outages took an economic toll of $130 billion on Texas alone, not counting the additional $25 billion impact of the crisis on other impacted states.
- Not surprisingly, tackling several of America’s biggest challenges at once is popular. Another recent Data for Progress poll found that 63% of Americans think an infrastructure bill with emphasis on both climate issues and pandemic-related economic relief should be a top priority for Congress.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- Bills to ban transgender kids from sports try to solve a problem that doesn’t exist by Megan Rapinoe (Washington Post)
- Mitch McConnell is wrong on filibusters: They are, in fact, racist by Keisha N. Blain (MSNBC)
- Former prisoners struggle to re-enter society. What happens when society moves online? by Alexandra Marquez (NBC News)
- Advancing Gender Equity for Justice-Impacted Women in the Aftermath of COVID-19 by Akua Amaning (CAP)
- Elizabeth Warren’s Push To Diversify Federal Judges Is Finally Catching On by Jennifer Bendery (HuffPost)
- Arkansas governor signs bill to let doctors deny care to LGBTQ people by Casey Quinlan (American Independent)
The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.
Director of Digital Engagement, Advocacy
Explore The Series
The Progress Report
“The Progress Report” is CAP Action’s regular news email, providing policy-minded analysis of the day’s stories—and offering subscribers ways to get involved.