Take a Second Look: You May Be In The Infrastructure Business
May 3, 2021
By: Dawn M. Meyers
President Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan has been touted as a vast and far-reaching infrastructure plan. When most of us think of infrastructure, the types of projects that leap to mind include roads and bridges and perhaps some airport improvements. According to the White House “Fact Sheet” on President Biden’s Plan, however, the term “infrastructure” may now have a far more expansive definition. It may include the types of projects you are in the business of providing.
The American Jobs Plans includes investment to fix highways, rebuild bridges, and upgrade ports, airports, and transit systems. In fact, President Biden’s Plan targets the modernization of 20,000 miles of highways and roads and will fix the ten most economically significant bridges in the country and repair 10,000 smaller bridges. The Plan will also replace thousands of buses and rail cars, repair hundreds of stations, renew airports, and expand transit and rail into new communities. However, much of the Plan is aimed at addressing the impacts of climate change and long-standing and persistent racial injustice.
For example, one goal of President Biden’s Plan is to eliminate all lead pipes and service lines in the drinking water systems, thereby improving the health of children and communities of color. The Plan anticipates the creation of thousands of jobs to lay new transmission lines to protect our electric grid. Among the more ambitious goals, the Plan seeks to bring affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to every American, including rural areas.
While not traditionally considered infrastructure projects, the Plan focuses on building, rehabilitating, and retrofitting affordable, accessible, energy-efficient, and resilient housing, commercial buildings, schools, and childcare facilities, as well as improving federal facilities, particularly those serving veterans. Also, in the category of non-traditional infrastructure, the Plan seeks investment in the country’s “care economy” by creating new and better jobs for caregiving workers. Further investment will go to “innovations of the future” to create quality, well-paying jobs and the training for the workers who will perform those jobs while also revitalizing manufacturing, investing in research and science, and shoring up supply chains. The Plan also calls for significant investment in distressed and disadvantaged communities to create critical physical, social, and civic infrastructure as well as next-generation industries.
Many of the investments targeted by President Biden in his Plan are geared towards addressing the effects of climate change. Common threads among the various proposed projects include sustainability and resiliency. In fact, 40% of the Plan’s benefits are targeted to climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities. The Plan seeks to Invest in rural communities and communities impacted by the market-based transition to clean energy. Electric vehicles, resilient utilities and transportation, clean and renewable energy options, and modernization and upgrading of our water systems are key components of the Plan.
As you can see, should President Biden’s American Jobs Plan be passed by Congress, those in the construction industry are not the only ones who stand to benefit. So, whether your business installs utilities, addresses sea-level rise, focuses on clean energy, or provides broadband, workforce training, affordable housing, or childcare, you, among many others, stand or benefit from the Plan. Stay tuned for updates to the legislation, as well as other articles focused on how to obtain any future infrastructure work and issues related to the various categories of anticipated projects.