Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan will 'out-compete China'
U.S. President Joe Biden is unveiling a $2 trillion infrastructure plan on Wednesday that the White House says will “reimagine and rebuild a new economy” that will position the country “to out-compete China.”
The move will be the most sweeping since the 1960s space program, in terms of investment, his cabinet said Wednesday.
The White House said in advance that the plan envisions repairing 32,000 kilometers of roadways, 10 economically significant bridges and 10,000 smaller ones, getting rid of dangerous lead pipes in water systems, and significantly upgrading the country’s electrical grid, computer broadband, and transit systems.
Biden is making the announcement in a major eastern industrial city, Pittsburgh, in the political battleground state of Pennsylvania, which he captured in last November’s election en route to a four-year term as president.
The plan, parted in four and designed for eight years will allot $620 billion for on "how we move" (infrastructure), $650B on "how we live at home" (broadband, water, housing) $400B on "how we care" (care economy) $580B on "how we make and create" (R&D, manufacturing) - some $180 billion of which goes to what’s billed as the biggest non-defense research and development program on record, Bloomsburg reported.
After winning congressional approval of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief deal solely on the strength of the votes of Democratic lawmakers over unified Republican opposition, Biden has made it clear his next legislative objective is an infrastructure measure.
“The United States of America is the wealthiest country in the world, yet we rank 13th when it comes to the overall quality of our infrastructure,” the White House said.
“After decades of disinvestment, our roads, bridges, and water systems are crumbling. Our electric grid is vulnerable to catastrophic outages. Too many lack access to affordable, high-speed Internet and to quality housing.”
It said, “This is the moment to reimagine and rebuild a new economy,” adding that public domestic investment as a share of the economy has dropped by more than 40% since the 1960s. It said Biden’s plan envisions investing “in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways and won the space race.”
“These are high-value investments, the investments that experts across the board have identified as contributing to addressing deficiencies, improving economic efficiency,” the official said. “And we think that these are investments that, as a country, we cannot afford not to make.”
Biden is proposing paying for it through changes to taxes on corporations, including raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday the administration is open to different ideas about how to fund the package, but that concerns about the condition of the nation’s infrastructure are shared by people across the political spectrum.
Republicans in Congress, who often support infrastructure spending in their home communities, have already voiced opposition to Biden’s plan to raise taxes, saying that would hurt American workers, slow economic growth, and make U.S. companies less competitive in the world market.
The senior administration official who previewed the plan said one focus of the proposal is “making our infrastructure of the future more resilient to climate change,” with such initiatives as helping bus fleets shift to electric vehicles and making electric cars more affordable for drivers.
Another part of the plan is aimed at research and development in such sectors as batteries and semiconductors, along with job training for those industries.
A particular focus of Biden’s plan is its emphasis on the U.S. competing with China.
In its fact sheet on the Biden proposal, the White House said, “Like great projects of the past, the president’s plan will unify and mobilize the country to meet the great challenges of our time: the climate crisis and the ambitions of an autocratic China.”
At one point it noted, “The U.S. market share of plug-in electric vehicle (EV) sales is only one-third the size of the Chinese EV market. The president believes that must change.”
The White House said, “America lags its peers — including Canada, (Britain), and Australia — in the on-time and on-budget delivery of infrastructure, and is falling behind countries like China on overall investment.”