Most Americans are probably interested to find out what President Joe Biden’s “American Jobs Plan”, promoted by the administration as an “Infrastructure” bill. When these Americans hear the word “infrastructure,” they rightly think of foundational physical structures such as highways, bridges, and roads that allow society to operate. However, for the Biden administration, those basic physical structures are merely a very small slice of the vast “infrastructure” pie.
But instead, the bulk of the massive $2 trillion plan is set to go toward other progressive initiatives such as electric vehicles and free community college. According to a chart obtained by the Washington Post, the Transportation Infrastructure portion, which is $621 billion of the bill, reveals only $115 billion for Highways, Bridges, and Roads while allotting $174 billion for Electric Vehicles, Public Transit at $85 billion, Passenger and Freight Rail at $80 billion, Airports, Water Transit and Ports $42 billion, Transportation inequities $45 billion, Infrastructure resilience $50 billion, and in the other category $30 billion. The Transportation portion of this bill amounts to 31.04% of the total plan. This means the $115 billion for highways, bridges and roads is only 5.75% of the bill.
In the Infrastructure at Home portion, which is $650 billion, Clean Drinking Water is $111 billion, High-Speed Broadband is $100 billion, Electrical Infrastructure is $100 billion, Affordable and Sustainable Housing $213 billion, Public Schools, Early Learning Centers and Community Colleges $137 billion, while the other portion is $28 billion.
These two categories amount to $1.271 trillion. It could also be true that the administration is being intentionally vague in its summary descriptions of expenditures in the chart. Earlier reporting about the spending package stated it would allot $400 billion in spending to combat climate change, including $60 billion for infrastructure related to green transit and $46 billion for climate-related research and development. Additionally, it is expected to include universal pre-kindergarten, expanded childcare, and a national paid leave program.
Journalist Philip Bump aptly noted in an op-ed in the Post, “‘Infrastructure’ is one of those magical political terms that refers to something everyone supports but the boundaries of which no one agrees. It’s the sandwich of policy, something that everyone likes until you start getting specific about what you’re putting between the bread slices and whether a hot dog fits the definition.”
As for Biden’s “infrastructure” plan, Bump stated, “What it is, really, is the Green New Deal” wrapped up in politically acceptable terms.
Meanwhile, Biden argued “It’s about infrastructure.” It has me wondering if Biden even knows the difference.