President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan contains tens of billions of dollars to solve environmental and economic problems throughout the Ohio Valley region, according to details released by the White House Wednesday.
Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had promised a major infrastructure initiative, but one has never been successful in his four years in office.
Speaking in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Biden called his plan the biggest investment in jobs since World War II.
“It’s not a tinkering plan,” he says. “It’s a one-time investment in a generation in America, unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago.”
The plan includes $ 16 billion to plug thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells and recover hundreds of coal mines. The administration says the effort would create thousands of union jobs in communities affected by declining fossil fuel production.
Biden is proposing a $ 40 billion program to retrain displaced workers for jobs in growing industries such as clean energy, manufacturing, and caregiving.
The plan includes more than $ 100 billion in grants and loans to improve water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and to phase out all lead and service lines that provide electricity. potable water. This could help rural communities in the area with aging water systems, like Martin County in eastern Kentucky, who struggled to maintain their water system.
Comparing high-speed internet to electricity 100 years ago, Biden’s plan offers $ 100 billion to bring reliable broadband to rural areas and tribal lands.
A $ 17 billion investment in ports and inland waterways could help improve trade infrastructure on the Ohio River and other navigable rivers in the region.
The plan commits $ 50 billion to improve the resilience of infrastructure to the effects of climate change, including floods and forest fires.
The plan calls for a massive modernization of the national electricity grid and encourages the production and storage of clean energy. It would establish 10 demonstration projects to capture and store carbon emissions from industries such as steel, chemicals and cement.
It would clean up and redevelop old energy and industrial sites and promote economic development through Power grant program from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
As with traditional infrastructure bills from past administrations, Biden’s is investing heavily in roads, bridges, and transit systems.
Republicans said the plan was not spending enough on infrastructure and criticized tax increases that would pay for it. It didn’t appeal to lawmakers in fossil fuel-producing states, either.
“The proposal would aggressively reduce the use of traditional energy resources and eliminate high-paying jobs in West Virginia and across the country,” said Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the top Republican on the Senate Committee of the United Nations. environment and public works. “Perhaps worst of all, it would weigh down the US economy with tax increases as our country tries to recover from economic hardship.”
The $ 2 trillion plan hinges on a corporate tax rate hike and faces uncertain prospects in a tightly divided Congress. Infrastructure is a problem that can generally benefit from bipartisan support.
“Sadly,” said Kentucky Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, “the latest Liberal wishlist the White House has decided to label” infrastructure “is a major missed opportunity.”
Biden’s plan also calls for eliminating billions of dollars in tax benefits for fossil fuel producers. The president has set a goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.