US President Joe Biden unveiled a massive $2.3 trillion (€1.9 trillion) plan to invest in the country”s “crumbling” infrastructure, calling it a “once-in-a-generation” investment.
The plan includes billions of dollars for fixing highways and rebuilding bridges as well as money for removing lead pipes, renewing the electric grid and expanding broadband internet.
“I’m proposing a plan for the nation that rewards work, not just rewards wealth. It builds a fair economy that gives everybody a chance to succeed, and it’s going to create the strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world,” Biden said in a speech delivered at a carpenters training centre in Pittsburgh.
“It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It’s a once-in-a generation investment in America,” he added, comparing it to the space race.
It may be difficult to convince Republicans to come on board, however, as Biden plans to finance the plan by raising taxes on corporations.
“We’re going to raise the corporate tax,” Biden said.
“It was 35 per cent, which is too high. We all agreed, five years ago, it should go down to 28 per cent, but they reduced it to 21 per cent. We’re going to raise it back to — up to 28 per cent.”
He said the new plan constituted the largest jobs investment since World War II. The White House said it would place the US in a position to “out-compete” China.
Biden will also announce a second bill to invest in families and health care in the coming weeks.
The jobs plan includes billions to invest in electric cars, including charging stations and electrifying school buses.
It also includes provisions for retrofitting homes, modernising schools and child care facilities, and upgrading veterans’ hospitals and federal buildings.
“We’ll also repair 10,000 bridges, desperately needed upgrades to unclog traffic, keep people safe, and connect our cities, towns, and Tribes across the country,” Biden said, adding it would add rail and transit lines.
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said he was in favour of an infrastructure bill but that the administration should not raise taxes on “businesses and individuals”.
“Before the pandemic, we had the best economy in 50 years. We should not raise taxes under the guise of an infrastructure bill and send our economy in the wrong direction,” McConnell said.
Some Democrats, however, said the plan did not go far enough, stating that the investment in infrastructure should be much bigger to create more jobs in the country.
New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested the plan should invest $10 trillion instead of two and said other Democrats were on board with at least doubling the investment figure in the plan.