When President Biden took office last January, bipartisanship seemed impossible. The U.S. Capitol had just been sacked by a mob of pro-Trump rioters bent on stopping the peaceful transfer of power. However, thanks to Biden’s commitment to bipartisan leadership and the patience and advocacy of Democrats, they managed to negotiate the framework of an incredible infrastructure package with Senate Republicans that will make transformative investments all across our nation.
Millions of Americans will have their lives changed by the historic infrastructure deal that Biden and Congressional Democrats negotiated with Senate Republicans. The Biden Infrastructure Framework invests $1 trillion, $550 billion of which is new spending over the next five years, in building, repairing and upgrading American infrastructure. This will have a big impact where it’s needed most: combatting the climate crisis, supporting rural America, and lifting up low-income and historically marginalized communities.
The plan includes $39 billion for public transit, $73 billion for power systems, $66 billion for rail and Amtrak, and more than $110 billion for roads and bridges. This spending will both create a generation of good-paying jobs and make it easier for American people everywhere to get to work and live their lives. In addition to the jobs created, the improvements in infrastructure quality and efficiency will provide a huge boost to our economy.
These funds are also designed to benefit our climate: investments in electric vehicle chargers in rural areas and on highways will incentivize driving electric cars, and an accessible public transportation system will reduce gas emissions overall.
More than $65 billion in the framework will go toward broadband internet, an important initiative that will bring access to fast, reliable internet to millions in rural America. High-speed internet will help rural businesses compete, will give students in rural areas better access to a tremendous wealth of educational resources, and will generally improve the quality of life for so many people who lack a good internet connection in our increasingly online world. And of course, many of the aforementioned infrastructure upgrades made and jobs created will be in communities throughout rural America.
In addition, $55 billion in funds will be spent developing safe water pipes and removing old, outdated, and dangerous lead service lines. Lead exposure is incredibly harmful, especially for our youth. It can cause developmental delays, learning difficulties, mood disorders, memory issues, and so much more.
The mere presence of old lead pipes is a threat, so if we can remove them while creating good jobs in the process, that’s a win for everybody. The Biden administration understands this, which is why the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will target and get rid of lead water pipes, and replace them with safe systems. We owe it to future generations to tackle this problem now.
This will be the largest investment in American infrastructure in a century. American workers and businesses will benefit tremendously, which is why mayors across Minnesota are urging swift passage of these crucial investments in their communities.
While this framework has not been passed yet by Congress, the clock is ticking. Ten Republicans are needed for legislation to be passed by the Senate, and the Republicans that have agreed to the framework are showing some signs of hesitation as the bill moves forward. Republicans must follow through on their promise to sponsor infrastructure legislation. It is imperative that we seize on the opportunity to make a once-in-a-century investment in America.
With the negotiation of this deal, Biden has proven that good-faith compromise can still deliver results for the American people. Biden promised to get things done by finding common ground on the campaign trail, and while many people didn’t think this was possible anymore, Biden is proving them wrong. This deal is a big win for the Biden administration, and an even bigger win for the American people who will benefit from the framework’s vision of a stronger, cleaner, and more equitable America.
Ken Martin is the chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.