When most Americans hear the word "infrastructure," they rightly think of foundational physical structures such as highways, bridges, and roads that allow society to operate. However, for the Biden administration, those basic physical structures are merely a slice of the vast "infrastructure" pie — and a small one at that.
Many Americans may be interested to find out that President Joe Biden's "American Jobs Plan" — consistently touted by the administration as an "infrastructure" bill — spends comparatively little on highways, bridges, and roads. Instead, the bulk of the massive $2 trillion plan is set to go toward other progressive initiatives such as electric vehicles and free community college.
What are the details?
According to a chart obtained by the Washington Post, which details the proposal's spending breakdown, the administration plans to spend only $115 billion — roughly one-twentieth of the total — on highways, bridges, and roads, while spending $174 billion on electric vehicles, $213 billion on affordable and sustainable housing, $137 billion on public schools and community colleges, and $180 billion on climate-based research and development.
Electric vehicles $174B vs... Highways, bridges and roads $115B https://t.co/U7TmEMzh4I— Josh Kraushaar (@Josh Kraushaar)1617290660.0
Other large expenditures include $111 billion for clean drinking water, $100 billion for high-speed broadband, and $100 billion for workforce development.
It could also be true that the administration is being intentionally vague in its summary descriptions of expenditures in the chart. Earlier reporting about the spending package stated that it would allot "$400 billion in spending to combat climate change, including $60 billion for infrastructure related to green transit and $46 billion for climate-related research and development."
Additionally, it is expected to include universal pre-kindergarten, free community college, expanded child care, and a national paid leave program.
When announcing the plan on Wednesday, Biden said, "It's not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It's a once-in-a generation investment in America, unlike anything we've seen or done since we built the Interstate Highway System and the Space Race decades ago."
"We have to move now," he added. "I'm convinced that if we act now, in 50 years people will look back and say, 'This was the moment America won the future.'"
Yet, "It's about infrastructure," he argued still.
In an op-ed in the Post explaining the plan, journalist Philip Bump aptly noted, "'Infrastructure' is one of those magical political terms that refers to something everyone supports but the boundaries of which no one agrees. It's the sandwich of policy, something that everyone likes until you start getting specific about what you're putting between the bread slices and whether a hot dog fits the definition."
As for Biden's "infrastructure" plan, Bump stated, "What it is, really, is the Green New Deal" wrapped up in politically acceptable terms.