The White House is set to announce a massive plan for everything from highway bridges to electric-vehicle charging stations funded by tax hikes on corporations.
United States President Joe Biden is set to unveil an ambitious development plan Wednesday that includes boosting the country’s ageing infrastructure and fighting climate change — all paid for with a series of tax increases on corporations.
It’s the veteran inside-the-beltway dealmaker’s answer to former President Donald Trump’s lacklustre “infrastructure week”, an initiative that became a long-running, Groundhog Day-esque joke in Washington when it failed to get off the ground because it was too expensive and complicated.
Despite his previous career in real estate, Trump’s penchant for building never did shine brightly in the White House. Now, Biden has set an agenda to rebuild the US’s roads, bridges, ports, airports and more, an endeavour that comes on the heels of his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that pumped stimulus money into the coronavirus-ravaged American economy.
The first half of Biden’s Build Back Better package, the American Jobs Plan, is set to be announced in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with projects costing around $2 trillion. The second half of the proposal, the American Families Plan, is for big-ticket programmes around “social infrastructure” like universal pre-kindergarten and health-care reforms and will likely take shape as an additional $2 trillion bill a few weeks down the road.
“America has underinvested in infrastructure for more than a generation,” Aaron Klein, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Al Jazeera. “The devil is always in the details, but it is a promising sign that President Biden is thinking big and bold.”
“The interstate system famously began under President Eisenhower in the 1950s and ordinary Americans benefit from it every day,” he added. “Infrastructure takes time to build but the benefits last for generations.”
‘Only as strong as its weakest link’
The first step, many experts say, is to fix and upgrade old highways, tunnels, dams and levees to the tune of $1 trillion.