A team works on a cell tower in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
If good policy is good policy, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is both. It’s good for the country, which barely has passing mark on our infrastructure, C-, and good for the American worker.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its blockages have temporarily immobilized our economy. How someone got off depended on their situation.
If anyone could make a living with online video calls with high speed internet access from the comfort of their home, they often did very well.
If someone worked with their hands, things were often very different. Employment levels and opportunities have not returned for those in the bottom quintiles of our economy to levels reached before the pandemic. This is where the bipartisan infrastructure bill would come into play.
Americans without degrees often work in construction, manufacturing, services, and the oil and gas industry. Any economic program that primarily stimulates these sectors disproportionately benefits these working families.
This is precisely what the bipartisan infrastructure bill does. Making critical investments in roads, bridges, highways, broadband, coastal resilience, ports and waterways creates jobs, opportunities, and improves the lives of all Americans.
For families and small businesses that don’t have high-speed internet access, the bipartisan infrastructure bill allocates billions to ensure that all Americans have such access. For communities facing severe flooding, it gives FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers billions for efforts to reduce the risk of flooding.
For towns and cities plagued by power outages as a result of storms like the ones we see in Southeast Louisiana, the bipartisan infrastructure bill allocates billions to strengthen the electricity grid and the make more reliable. Doing these things creates jobs and provides real solutions to the real problems that Americans face every day.
Now is our opportunity to show American workers that Washington is ready to invest in them. Every aspect of this bill will provide a job opportunity for those Americans who have felt left behind for too long. This bill is a unique opportunity for the American worker.
There are a lot of talk and platitudes about American workers. But it’s more than a topic of discussion. It is a commitment to invest in their future and the future of this country. This is reflected in our political decisions and in the text of the bipartite infrastructure bill. It was passed by an overwhelming majority by the US Senate by 69 to 30 votes last month and now awaits a vote in the US House of Representatives next week.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill provides for $ 550 billion in new spending. This breaks down into $ 110 billion for roads and bridges, $ 66 billion for passenger and freight rail, $ 65 billion for broadband, $ 65 billion for boosting US energy. and the electricity grid, $ 54 billion for water infrastructure, $ 46 billion for resilience, $ 25 billion for airport improvements, $ 21 billion for cleaning up contaminated sites, $ 47 billion for transportation in common and $ 17.4 billion for ports and waterways.
Analysis of the bill reveals that long-term capital spending will improve economic efficiency, productivity, GDP and income without increasing inflation.
Studies have even shown that the bipartisan infrastructure bill would create roughly half a million new manufacturing jobs by 2024.
In addition, Penn Wharton points out that this federal investment will stimulate additional private capital, which, along with increased productivity, will raise the wages of American workers.
Now is the time to make sure those who have been left out of the Zoom economy have the opportunity to catch up with everyone else. Now is the time to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Dr. Bill Cassidy is the United States Senator from Louisiana.