Countries, states and cities are in need of an infrastructure overhaul and the latest bill signed by U.S. President Joe Biden can help with the haul.
On Monday, outside of the White House, Biden officially signed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill that will use $550 billion in new federal spending over the next half-decade for new projects and give $650 billion to new and existing funding programs.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help in upgrading broadband to serve all Americans (particularly in rural areas), upgrading the country’s railway system, removing lead pipes while upgrading the water system, and repairing and improving roads, bridges, etc.
Biden told reporters that real politics was about compromise and not running roughshod over the opposite party even though some leftists want him to.
“Folks too often in Washington, the reason we didn’t get things done is because we insisted on getting everything we want. Everything,” said Biden to reporters. “With this law we focused on getting things done. I ran for president because the only way to move our country forward, in my view, was through compromise and consensus.
Joseph Geiger, executive secretary-treasurer of the New York City District Council of Carpenters, stated that America took a “major” step on its Build Back goals with union labor leading the way.
“The passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides millions of good-paying union jobs throughout New York State and our country for decades to come, while lowering costs of things families depend on, delivering a historic tax cut for middle class families, and making urgently needed, once-in-a-generation investments in our nation’s future,” said Geiger. “Now that the bi-partisan measure has been signed by the president, it will be the largest investment in our nation’s infrastructure in a century that will have our union brothers and sisters building back our communities stronger than ever as we improve our infrastructure and invest in our local workforces.”
There might be one problem with the legislation. With the money given directly to state governments, the state will have the power to decide where the money goes and whose infrastructure will be improved. In Black and Brown neighborhoods, there’s a history of being left out in the cold when it comes to government assistance of any kind. One can look towards the Bronx and how the Cross Bronx Expressway broke up the borough and provided a smooth ride to New York transplants who didn’t want to live near Black and Brown people.
This led to the creation of the term “environmental racism,” which, according to a report from the University of New Mexico “refers to how minority group neighborhoods—populated primarily by people of color and members of low-socioeconomic backgrounds—are burdened with disproportionate numbers of hazards including toxic waste facilitates, garbage dumps, and other sources of environmental pollutions and foul odors that lower the quality of life. This can lead to different diseases and cancers.
“Because of this, as the fight with climate change worsens, minority communities will be disproportionately affected.”
States get to decide which bridges are repaired, which roads are fixed, whose lead pipes are torn out and replaced with better ones for water.
This is why the bill includes $1 billion to connect local communities like the Bronx that were broken up via racist transportation projects by the late Robert Moses.
After months of struggle, the bill was viewed more positively by the likes of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConell who, according to Bowling Green Daily News in Bowling Green, Kentucky, sang the bill’s praises to a room full of local business leaders because it “passed without a tax increase.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that all state governments should have their money in six months.