Opinion: Investing in America

This past week, the Biden administration introduced a $2 trillion infrastructure plan designed to overhaul the nation’s existing roads, bridges, water pipes and more, and it could not come soon enough. For years, many in and out of Washington have been throwing around the idea of a large-scale infrastructure plan, with the idea especially being played with by former President Donald Trump, but none have been delivered until now. 

The aptly-titled American Jobs Plan aims to upgrade 20,000 miles of highways, rebuild over 10,000 bridges, and “replace thousands of buses and rail cars, repair hundreds of stations, renew airports, and expand transit and rail into new communities.” In addition to these transportation changes, the plan will replace lead pipes in homes and expand wireless broadband access for thousands, if not millions. While the former changes are deeply important, the latter are arguably more important in addressing inequalities that exist in communities across the country. Poor housing infrastructure disproportionately affects lower-income communities and communities of color in both the short and long term, as the lead-laced pipes and unclean drinking water can create serious health problems.

Transportation is a key focus of the proposed investments, and the funding for public transportation services, like buses and trains, is another important aspect of addressing inequalities. The administration notes that the plan “includes $20 billion for a new program that will reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments and ensure new projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access.” An idea that is not included in the plan but has often polled popularly is the construction of high-speed rail tracks that cover thousands of miles across the country. This should be a next step for the Biden administration, who has already stated the desire to go big on working to repair the country.

The proposal also addresses decades-long underfunding of infrastructure and research and development (R&D) that has resulted in the United States falling behind other developed countries that the country is competing with, like China. Some critics say that the plan does not go far enough, and it certainly does not address every problem the country faces, but it is one of the largest spending proposals in years and will go a long way in improving lives in America. Overall, the American Jobs Plan offers to provide deeply necessary improvements to the lives of millions of Americans by increasing the corporate tax rate and working to address offshoring of multinational corporations to avoid taxes. There is much more to the plan than is covered in this article, so I encourage readers to research and realize the great benefits the plan offers: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/31/fact-sheet-the-american-jobs-plan/.


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