Washington, United States:
President Joe Biden will propose a $ 2 trillion infrastructure plan on Wednesday to modernize America’s crumbling transportation network, create millions of jobs and allow the country to “outperform” China.
The first phase of Biden’s “Build Back Better” program, which he will unveil in a speech in Pittsburgh, will detail the massive investments spread over eight years.
It plans to inject $ 620 billion into transportation, including upgrading 32,000 kilometers of roads and highways, repairing thousands of bridges and doubling federal funding for public transit.
The president, whom Donald Trump has tried to caricature as “Sleepy Joe” and a man without strong ideas or motivation, intends to make the daring infrastructure plan one of his flagship policies.
“He sees his role as defining … a broad vision, a bold vision of how we can invest in America, in American workers, in our communities,” White House spokeswoman Jen said. Psaki.
The investment would be partly financed by an increase in corporate tax from 21% to 28%.
“The president proposes to fundamentally reform the corporate tax code so that it encourages job creation and investment … and ensures that large companies pay their fair share”, a senior administration official said ahead of the speech.
The new legislative offensive comes shortly after Congress passed a nearly $ 2 trillion Covid-19 economic stimulus package.
And Biden’s speech is about to start a fierce battle in Congress, where Democrats hold a slim majority and will face stiff opposition from Republicans.
The coming months will test the negotiating skills of the Democratic president, a veteran of Washington politics and deal making, and the chances of his infrastructure plan becoming law remain uncertain.
– ‘Urgency of the moment’ –
“This is an important initiative to start the process, the president being very clear that he has a plan and that he is open to hearing what others think,” said the administration official.
“But what he doesn’t compromise on is the urgency of the moment and the need to truly deliver for the American people and do good to build back better right now.”
The plan also promises to “spark the electric vehicle revolution” by building a network of 500,000 EV chargers, replacing 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and electrifying 20% of famous yellow school buses.
And it aims to make infrastructure more resilient to climate change.
With much of the country’s creaky infrastructure dating back to the 1950s, the dream of new roads, bridges, railroads, and airports is shared by many Americans.
But building a political consensus to turn Biden’s plan into reality is no easy task.
His predecessors, Barack Obama and Trump, had big ambitions and made heady promises in infrastructure investment, but struggled to make progress.
The problem keeps coming back to the same question: how to pay?
Biden’s new transport secretary, Pete Buttigieg, who ran against him in the Democratic primaries, will be at the forefront of the battle, trying to get the stars to all align this time around.
“I think there is now a tremendous opportunity to have bipartisan support for a broad and bold vision of infrastructure,” said the young politician.
“Americans don’t need a lot of sales to know we have to do big things with our infrastructure.”