America unveils its “giant infrastructure plan” with a price tag of US$2 trillion. This plan features investments in critical infrastructures like roads, bridges, rail lines, and ports.
The package will also address climate change challenges, recovery from the pandemic, and racial and social inequality.
According to the New York times, the package will cover three major areas– traditional projects, climate change, and racial and gender inequality.
Traditional infrastructure projects refer to critical infrastructure projects that every country must invest in and maintain regularly to ensure that it is not a hazard and continue to offer quality service to the community.
Under the new infrastructure package, it will seek to rebuild the country’s aging roads, bridges, transits, and ports, upgrade power grids, and prevent a repeat of Texas’s widespread power outage.
The plan will also prioritize expanding broadband internet connection in rural areas to keep the country competitive with other powers, the article says.
To address climate change issues, the government will invest in more EV charging stations and improve the country’s power infrastructure. It will also include an ambitious target to add one million affordable and energy-efficient housing units.
But with this slew of projects, the administration has to be mindful that it won’t contribute to more global GHG emissions. It should include a plan to offset emissions that comes with additional capacity.
Kevin DeGood, director of infrastructure policy at the Center for American Progress, says that it is more than just vehicle electrification but a need to build a transport system that does not require people to drive daily.
The NPR article breaks down where the $2 Trillion will be invested.
Beyond just building structures, the infrastructure plan will invest in reducing the racial and gender inequality gap.
According to the article, the plan will set aside a sizeable fund, more than $300 billion, to build and renovate schools, childcare centers, community colleges in poor and underserved communities inhabited mainly by African Americans, Latinos, and migrants.
Funding will be available to train and educate unemployed workers and students on free community colleges to put them back to work.
To support women in balancing their caregiving responsibilities and workforce participation, the government plans to roll out a national paid leave program and a free universal pre-kindergarten program.
The plan, however, is not without obstacles. There needs to be a bipartisan agreement and support, regardless of differing views and priorities, to implement infrastructure projects successfully.
BACKGROUND PHOTO CREDIT: Grand Coulee Dam spillway in June 2009 by By David Brodbeck from Seattle, WA, USA – Grand Coulee Dam spillway, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7716964