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Biden proposes $2 trillion infrastructure plan

President Joe Biden today released a proposal to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure projects over an 8-year period. Dubbed the American Jobs Plan, the broadly defined infrastructure concept is separated into four components: Transportation infrastructure and roadway safety, “How We Live” infrastructure, “Care” infrastructure, and Innovation infrastructure.

"ATSSA applauds President Biden, Secretary [Pete] Buttigieg and the administration on ensuring that roadway safety is front and center in the American Jobs Plan,” ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said. “Between increasing funding for roadway safety projects, a focus on pedestrian and bicyclist safety, encouraging and funding vision zero programs, and noting the emotional toll that roadway fatalities and serious injuries have on American families, this proposal will put us on a path of reducing fatalities toward zero in the decades to come. ATSSA looks forward to working with the Biden administration and Congress to make zero fatalities a reality through investments in roadway safety infrastructure.”

Transportation Infrastructure & Roadway Safety
The Biden administration’s plan would spend $621 billion on surface transportation projects, including roads, bridges, transit, passenger and freight rail, ports, waterways and airports. In its call for the need to invest in transportation infrastructure, the administration specifically highlights the fact that more than 35,000 people are killed on U.S. roadways each year and millions more are seriously injured.

Of the $621 billion for surface transportation, $20 billion would specifically be for improving roadway safety for all users, with a particular emphasis on pedestrians and bicyclists. Those investments would be for increases to existing safety programs (likely Highway Safety Improvement Program) and the creation of a new program entitled “Safe Streets for All,” which will provide funding for state and local governments’ vision zero plans.

In addition, $25 billion would be allocated for airport infrastructure, including the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Generally, AIP funds are used on the airfield itself for taxiway and runway construction, and to improve airfield safety, including safety devices.

The American Jobs Plan also places a focus on ensuring that American infrastructure is resilient in the face of a changing climate, including the creation of new resiliency-focused initiatives at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

Although it is not entirely clear at this point, it is likely these surface transportation infrastructure investments are in addition to the traditional highway bill reauthorization that is underway in Congress. However, with that said it will be up to Congress to put pen to paper and craft legislation that takes these priorities, and others, into consideration and which can garner majority votes in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

How We Live
Infrastructure under this portion of the plan focuses on bettering the way of life for Americans, including investments in clean drinking water, rural and urban high-speed internet access, strengthening the energy grid with a focus on renewable energy sources, housing infrastructure, schools, veterans hospitals, community colleges and more.

Care Infrastructure
The third portion of the plan focuses on the care economy – the sector encompassing child-care, elder care and caring for people with disabilities.

Innovation Infrastructure
The final piece of the Biden infrastructure plan is on research and development and ensuring that the U.S. is a global leader on technology. Within this portion, the plan calls for $35 billion to be invested in climate change-focused R&D, including electric vehicles. The plan also provides a focus for enhancing U.S. manufacturing, with investments in supply chain capacity for critical goods including semiconductors.

To pay for these investments, the American Jobs Plan calls for increasing the corporate tax rate to 28%, higher than the current rate but lower than the rate before the 2017 tax law.

ATSSA on the Hill is written by ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith.

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