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UPDATED: What’s in Biden’s Massive $2T American Jobs Plan?

The American Jobs Plan, to be released today, is proposing the investment of $2 trillion toward the country’s aging infrastructure and next-generation transportation technologies, among other things.

A construction worker aligning a steel girder being installed by a crane.
Shutterstock/Randy Hergenrether
Electric vehicles, transit and other forms of transportation could benefit significantly from a massive infrastructure and jobs creation plan put forward by President Joe Biden.

The infrastructure proposal, known as The American Jobs Plan, is set to be released by the president today in Pittsburgh, Pa. With a price tag of some $2 trillion, the initiative will be one of the most significant public investments in the nation’s roads, bridges, tunnels, railways and transportation systems seen in generations.

The American Jobs Plan, said Biden, “is the biggest increase in our federal non-defense research and development spending on record.

“It’s going to boost America’s innovative edge,” he said on Wednesday, speaking from Pennsylvania.   

The American Jobs Plan would unfold over eight years, and represents the first phase of a two-part agenda to grow the U.S. economy, totaling some $4 trillion over the course of 10 years. Biden has proposed raising taxes on the very rich and corporations to help pay for the plan.

“President Biden’s plan is the most visionary proposal for the nation’s transportation network since the dawn of the interstate highway system,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, chair of the National Association of City Transportation Officials, in a statement. “Rather than doubling down on building new roads that worsen America’s safety, climate, and equity crises, the Administration is laying the transformational groundwork to rebuild the streets that we have to prioritize people, safety and climate—and going all-in on transit as the first mobility option for America’s future.”

Aside from shoring up the country’s aging and declining infrastructure, Biden hopes to use the federal government as an agent for jobs creation, and place the United States on a path toward more sustainable transportation as the administration takes on the causes of climate change.

“The American Jobs Plan will lead to transformational progress in order to tackle climate change with American jobs and American ingenuity,” said Biden. 

The White House is proposing $174 billion in incentives to spur the domestic development of electric cars, provide for consumer purchase incentives and move to build out a national network of a half-million EV chargers by 2030.

The president’s plan would invest some $651 billion in transportation infrastructure to modernize 20,000 miles of roads and highways, and upgrade thousands of bridges, according to a briefing report released by the White House. It would help to upgrade the nation’s public transit systems, sending them $85 billion, and would mothball 50,000 diesel transit vehicles, replacing them with electric vehicles.

The proposal would also invest in freight and rail service, sectors that have rarely received much attention in the past. The president is calling on Congress to invest $80 billion toward Amtrak’s maintenance and repair backlog.

“The American Jobs Plan will build new rail corridors and transit lines, easing congestion, cutting pollution, slashing commute times,” said Biden. 

Ports, waterways and airports would not be left out. The White House is proposing an investment of $42 billion toward upgrades and modernization.

Equity also gets significant attention in Biden’s infrastructure proposal, as the president urges Congress to put aside $20 billion for a new program which would “reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments and ensure new projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access,” according to the plan.

The Jobs Plan follows the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, recently signed into law to help the nation dig out of the COVID-19 recession. It passed with no Republican support, a sign of the possibly chilly reception the infrastructure plan may encounter when it arrives on Capitol Hill.

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.