Biden Administration announces details on major new infrastructure push
President Joe Biden is unveiling details of his massive two-trillion-dollar-plus infrastructure package at a news conference in Pittsburgh. The bill being worked up by Congress right now would put $621 billion dollars into transportation and infrastructure projects. Biden says his plan, "Modernizes transportation infrastructure."
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The projects will include bridges, roads, public transportation, ports, airports and electric vehicle infrastructure, and research and development. The plan will also raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations to pay for it. It will raise the corporate tax rate to 28% and would increase the tax rate on high-earners, according to Reuters.
President Biden said, "It's a once-in-a-generation investment in America."
The Washington Post, quoting anonymous Biden Administration sources, reports the highest income tax rate would go to 39.6%, and taxes on wealthy investors would also rise. The Post also reports the wealthy would see a reduction in the number of deductions they can claim on their income taxes.
President Biden said, "It's time to build our economy from the bottom up.. not from the top down."
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The White House says the law would pay for itself in 15 years. White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a press briefing on Monday that, “The president has a plan to fix the infrastructure of our country… and he has a plan to pay for it."
The New York Times is reporting that the bill would repair or rebuild 20,000 miles of roads, and fix 10 of the most economically important bridges in the country.
According to the Times, the plans include $115 billion for roads and bridges, $85 billion for public transit and $42 billion for ports and airports.
There's not a ton of details yet, but the bill will also provide $80 billion for Amtrak and freight train upgrades according to the New York Times.
President Biden has talked often about his dreams of sparking the "second great rail revolution." Biden’s love for commuting via Amtrak and passenger rail is no secret. That's also a priority for Biden's Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg who told TPG back in February:
“This isn’t just rewinding to 2019. This is how to make sure that the 2020s are remembered as the years in which America once more took the lead on infrastructure globally. That’s everything from making sure our roads and bridges are up to date to being prepared for a future that includes electric vehicles and automated vehicles, and it means doing so in a way that meets the climate challenge and that meets challenges of racial and economic justice that, frankly, in the past have sometimes been made worse by federal decisions about transportation. Now we have a chance to make things much better.”
Related: Amtrak showing off new high-speed trains
Where is rail investment most needed? According to the President and CEO of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association Andy Kunz, there are five top-priority projects the administration could look at. They include rail projects in California, Texas, Florida and the Pacific Northwest, as well as upgrades to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. Additionally, the organization has said it would like the Biden administration to create a new High-Speed Rail Development Authority within the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Rick Harnish, executive director for the High Speed Rail Alliance told the Wall Street Journal, “There’s a couple projects that, if you really pushed them, they could really demonstrate what high-speed rail could do.”
In his campaign messaging, Biden said that he “will make sure that America has the cleanest, safest, and fastest rail system in the world — for both passengers and freight.” To do that, then-candidate Biden said he would “tap existing federal grant and loan programs” at the DOT as well as working with Amtrak and private freight companies to further electrify the country’s rail system.