This week marks the six-month anniversary for President Biden’s huge plan to “rebuild the backbone” of America by fixing the nation’s transportation system, from outdated public transit to crumbling roads and bridges.
“My message to the American people is this: America is moving again, and your life is going to change for the better,”Biden made these remarks when he signed the $1.2 billion bill in November. This was the largest ever outpouring of public money since the 1950s, when freeways and highways were built in great numbers.
Where is the money going then?
According to the White House, there are approximately 4,300 projects underway and $110 million in funding available. This money will be used to repair roads and improve electrical grids, as well as expand broadband internet service.
It also includes large-scale jobs but also community-based projects like widening bike lanes, and purchasing new, more efficient buses.
“We’re hitting the ground running on the projects that are shovel-ready,” senior White House aide Mitch Landrieu told reporters Monday.
“I think that if Americans step back, we will all have to admit that for the last 50 years we’ve had the need to do this and we haven’t found the will or the way to get it done,” Landrieu said.
The biggest funds are going to the big states of California, New York and Texas. Each receives more that $25 billion.
Governors and mayors have been told they are responsible for applying for 90% of the available money, and for overseeing its spending. The federal government accounts for dispersing 10% of the funds, to projects including clean energy and fighting the rising number of traffic collisions through road safety programs.
Battling climate change is part of the program, with Arizona, Washington and Oregon getting nearly $40 million each toward mitigating wildfire dangers.
Michigan receives $1.3 billion in funding to improve its water distribution network. Flint is the state’s capital. Flint was the site of lead-corroded pipes that turned water into brown sludge. This led to thousands of deaths from lead poisoning.
Overall, the infrastructure plan sets aside $110 billion for roads, bridges and major transportation projects; $65 billion to expand and provide less expensive internet service; $66 billion for train and railroad improvements; $55 billion for building and repairing water systems; $25 billion for airports; $39.2 billion in new spending for mass transit; and $5 billion for charging stations for electric cars and trucks.
Six-month anniversary of the plan also comes at a crucial time for Americans. The stock market is wildly fluctuating, inflation is the highest in nearly 40 years and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has skyrocketed energy prices, resulting in gas prices at U.S. pumps surging past $4.50 per gallon.
With political rhetoric at fever pitch between Republicans & Democrats, mid-term elections are imminent.
“All we can do is tell the story about what we do, and the impact that it has on the midterms will be whatever it’s going to be,” Landrieu said Monday.
“Some really smart person said, you know, even those people that voted no want the dough,”He said. “This is as close to consensus in my political life that I have seen.”