Politics

Roads, Internet, ecology … Joe Biden’s $ 1.2 trillion plan to modernize the United States

The gigantic investment plan of 1.2 trillion dollars proposed by US President Joe Biden was approved on Tuesday by the Senate. What is he planning?

He touts a “historic” project that will “transform America” . US President Joe Biden saw his gigantic investment plan of 1.2 trillion dollars approved on Tuesday, August 10 by the United States Senate. A success for the Democratic president, nearly eight months after his arrival at the White House, even if Joe Biden will still have to wait for the final vote in the House of Representatives, with the more uncertain outcome, to claim victory. These colossal investments, which the American president initially wanted 2300 billion, must make it possible to modernize an entire country.

Democratic and Republican senators have agreed that $ 110 billion from this plan will be directed towards upgrading roads, with “an emphasis on climate change mitigation” or “the safety of all users, including cyclists and pedestrians, ” says the White House. Of this amount, $ 40 billion will be spent on repairing or replacing old bridges.

Public transport is not forgotten. The investment plan provides for 66 billion for the modernization of the railway infrastructure, with in particular the creation of new lines, including for high-speed trains. It would be, according to the White House, the “biggest investment in passenger rail transport” for 50 years.

In addition, $ 17 billion will be set aside for rivers, canals and ports to maintain and expand locks and dams. 25 billion will finally be used to finance projects in airports.

21 billion for the environment, 50 for climate change

The environment is not excluded from the plan. To help clean up pollution from areas with toxic waste, abandoned mining lands and unclogged gas wells, the proposal sets aside $ 21 billion. It is also allocating $ 15 billion to replace water pipes that contain lead, which is only a third of the amount needed to replace them nationwide, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council .

In order to limit the impact of climate change, a few hours after the IPCC’s cry of alarm , 50 billion dollars are set aside. This money is intended to improve the adaptation of populations to climatic events, while floods, forest fires and other natural disasters cost some 100 billion dollars in 2020, according to the White House.

The bill also devotes five billion to zero-emission school buses – America’s infamous yellow buses – and 2.5 billion to ferries. And to stimulate the electric vehicle market, 7.5 billion will be devoted to the construction of a national network of charging stations for cars. Part of the envelope will also be used to fight cyber attacks.

550 billion in new spending to finance the plan

Finally, the Biden administration is planning $ 65 billion to expand high-speed internet access, while putting in place new regulations to lower prices, as well as a program to provide internet to low-income families. . The same amount will be allocated to the construction of thousands of kilometers of new lines to transport energy produced from renewable sources, to invest in new technologies such as CO2 capture and “clean hydrogen”, as well as in research. on nuclear energy.

All of these investments – half as much as Joe Biden, who met with Republican refusal, wanted to be funded by $ 550 billion in new spending, by unspent money from previous stimulus packages, and by revenue from the new tax on cryptocurrency. The bill also relies on higher economic growth, that is, higher tax revenues, to cover some costs.

The US Senate passed a historic, sweeping $1.2 trillion bipartisan package on Tuesday to shore up the nation’s crumbling infrastructure with funding for priorities like roads, bridges, rail, transit and the electric grid — a major achievement for both parties and President Joe Biden, fulfilling key agenda items, including his promise to work across the aisle.

The bill passed by a wide bipartisan majority of 69-30, with 19 Republican senators voting for the bill. It now heads to the House of Representatives, where timing on a vote in that chamber remains uncertain, before it can be sent to Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
One Republican senator, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, who said he opposed passage of the bill, was not present Tuesday, while he accompanied his wife for cancer treatments, so he did not vote.
The bill — called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — features $550 billion in new federal spending over five years. It invests $110 billion in roads, bridges and major projects, $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid, $65 billion to expand broadband internet access, $39 billion to modernize and expand transit systems and $7.5 billion to build a national network of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Among other priorities, the bill also includes $55 billion for water infrastructure, $15 billion of which will be directed toward replacing lead pipes.
The legislation stands to modernize and upgrade the nation’s aging and outdated infrastructure, a priority long supported by both parties but that has nevertheless evaded bipartisan compromise for years in a deeply divided political climate. Passage in the Senate will mark the culmination of months of painstaking negotiations between a bipartisan group of senators and the Biden administration, a process that showcased a rare example of successful deal-making between Democrats and Republicans on a major legislative package.

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