The American Jobs Plan Overview
Currently, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) scores America’s Infrastructure as a “C- “– based on the physical condition and need for investments. Since 1998, this is the highest score earned – which frankly isn’t anything to write home about. It’s no secret the United States falls behind other countries in terms of quality infrastructure, with countries such as China, Germany and the Netherlands racing ahead. This giant infrastructure plan hopes to accelerate growth and provide tangible differences to communities.
Let’s Break it Down
The newly introduced, American Jobs Plan, would address the aging infrastructure across the country and invest in new developments, but more importantly, spur economic growth through job creation. If passed, over the next eight years, the $2.2 trillion bill will focus on the following key areas:
- Transportation ($621 Billion)
- Water ($111 Billion)
- Broadband & Power ($100 Billion)
- Housing & Education ($213 Billion)
- Research and Development ($180 Billion)
- Manufacturing and Labor ($300 Billion)
It’s important to note that this federal investment supports private investments. Each dollar spent turns over in the economy, creating more opportunities for private citizens. Currently, this bill is in the preliminary stages. We can expect changes over the next several months from both Democrats and Republicans as negotiations and compromise take place.
As more people rely on the direct delivery of goods and services to their homes and businesses, such as Amazon, FedEx, GrubHub, and others, the highway system has become integral to consumers’ everyday lives – even if they’re not the ones driving. The wear and tear of years of neglect have left communities with systems in need of repair.
With $621 Billion over the course of 8 years, the bill aims to fix highways, bridges, airports, seaports and transit systems. This investment in the public works infrastructure has been needed for quite some time to try to make a dent in the trillions of dollars of identified maintenance work and required upgrades. The bill allows citizens to see their tax dollars being spent in their own communities.
The plan proposes upgrading America’s stormwater, wastewater and drinking water systems. As well as, the removal of lead pipes across the country. By rebuilding the water systems across America the ability to control disease, illness, extreme weather and economic opportunities significantly increases. These new standards present a hope that all Americans will have access to clean and affordable drinking water.
An additional $10 Billion in funding is allocated to monitor and remediate PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and to invest in rural water systems.
Broadband & Power
In the last year, we’ve learned that broadband connectivity is crucial to every community across America. Virtual services such as Zoom, Google Hangout and Teams have become prevalent ways to work and receive an education. However, rural communities have struggled, lacking access to reliable and fast broadband. With the digital divide highlighted due to Covid-19 the pressure to deliver a quality broadband network to the previously underserved has never been higher.
According to the White House, “more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds, particularly those living in rural and on tribal lands.”
Housing & Education
Housing shortages are extending beyond high-density areas and the need for attainable housing has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, it is truly a seller’s market – with many homes selling at prices above asking.
The reason? Besides mortgage rates dropping below 3% in July 2020,the work from home shift is causing many Americans to opt for homes with more space and millennials are now aging into their home-buying years.
The American Jobs Plan aims to ease restrictions on new construction by targeting zoning laws and land-use regulations. By eliminating barriers, communities can be innovative when developing land for residents.
Research & Development
Advancements in science and engineering have cured diseases, allowed us to walk on the moon and are now bring driverless cars to reality. Technologies and innovations that allow us to compete on a global level require significant investments – and the American Jobs Plan does just that.
With $180 Billion allocated to spur innovation and job creation, the bill specifies investing in researchers, laboratories and universities. Revitalizing research infrastructure will give U.S. corporations, and even individual citizens, the tools necessary to compete on a global scale.
Manufacturing & Labor
Over the course of the next eight years, the manufacturing industry will be adjusting to the new standards implemented by the proposed bill. $52 Billion dollars is being allocated for the investment in domestic firms. While a $31 Billion is being set aside for Small Businesses.
In order to accomplish everything in the bill, a large number of skilled labor will be needed. The plan hopes to create “good-quality jobs that pay prevailing wages.” Starting at the high school level, students will be on career paths before they graduate.
The proposed bill hopes to empower workers and create safe work environments, free from racial, gender and any other forms of discrimination or harassment.
How are We Paying for It?
Currently, the Biden Administration is proposing raising the corporate income tax rate to 28% from 21% and forcing multi-national companies to pay more in taxes to the U.S. to fund the bill. Opposition argues that raising taxes at this time will make the U.S. less competitive due to higher prices of goods and services required to to pay for the tax increases. Some lobbyists suggest user fees (you drive you pay) or a vehicle miles tax instead.
The next few months of negotiations will prove difficult – with pressure from both sides of the aisle.
There is an obvious need for a new infrastructure system in America – the American Jobs Plan delivers a solution and then some. Over the next few months expect compromise and some more compromise. Our experts at BHC are ready to repair and revitalize the nation when the bill get passed. Contact Randy Gorton, P.E., PTOE or Bill Brungardt P.E. for questions.