One of the largest issues facing the transportation industry today is our nation’s crumbling roadways, unsafe bridges, lack of effective rail systems, or other modes of transit. America’s infrastructure is stuck in the past in both rural and urban areas, which costs our industry time and money to safely navigate. President Biden has promised to build a modern solution that also provides millions of new jobs across the country.
According to Biden’s Build Back Better plan, he will launch a “national effort aimed at creating the jobs we need to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure now and deliver an equitable clean energy future.”
As part of this plan, Biden has proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that seeks to grow the economy and reduce the transportation industry’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next four years. He plans to spend $50 billion on road and bridge repairs in his first year in office, while also focusing on building new transit in impoverished areas, as well as developing a new vision for high-speed rail. Biden has also pledged to focus on being as environmentally conscious as possible, with investments in clean energy and electric vehicles also being top priorities across the board. The final size of the package is still under discussion, but meetings with Congress and the transportation subcommittee are already underway.
Biden hopes that his infrastructure plan can help unite Democrats with Republicans despite the current partisan divisions. “I’ve been around long enough, that infrastructure wasn’t a Republican or Democratic issue,” Biden said after a recent infrastructure meeting with lawmakers from both parties at the White House.
No funding mechanism has been specified for Biden’s infrastructure plan, though it may tie into his overarching tax strategy of increased taxes for corporations and the wealthy. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has stated that a hike in the federal gas tax is also possible, though nothing has been decided yet. The Build Back Better agenda also includes modernizing solutions for aviation, finance, water, regulatory issues, climate, broadband, schools, housing, agriculture, and economic development.
Both the Obama and Trump administrations promised to invest in infrastructure, but never fully delivered. Biden’s campaign pledged great things for job creation, roadway repair and modernization, weatherizing buildings, improving access to public transit, and updating America’s power grid to be carbon-pollution-free by 2035. Time will tell how many of these goals will come to fruition.
Biden’s infrastructure effort, should it pass, would mark a key moment in moving from our current “band aid” mode of only patching up major issues without fixing the base structure, to an actual solution that would help put America’s economy on firmer footing.