Economic Commentary on Infrastructure: U.S. Proposal, Global Gap, Digital Divide
IN THIS ISSUE:
- U.S. Infrastructure Bill: Far Beyond Transportation
- International Infrastructure Differences
- Closing the Digital Divide
Last week, President Biden formally proposed a multi-trillion dollar package of infrastructure spending. It’s large, and it covers much more than just roads and bridges. The debate surrounding the program is likely to be just as far-ranging.
Reviewing the proposal, the first item that stands out is its title. The American Jobs Plan (AJP) omits the key word of “infrastructure” from its name. Fittingly so, as it has much wider aims. Key investments would be made in the following areas:
- Transportation infrastructure, including roads, bridges, the rail network and airports. The largest and most novel share of this section is $174 billion to develop an electric vehicle charging network and electrify the federal vehicle fleet.
- Domestic manufacturing, research and development, and job training, including a broad array of investments to improve supply chains and train workers.
- Home care and support care services, including more federal funding for long-term elder care.
- Housing stock, schools and hospitals, which would receive grants to improve their existing facilities and build new buildings.
- Broadband, the electrical grid and the water supply. The goal of bringing high-speed internet access to the whole country is discussed later in this publication.
Including the costs of tax breaks, the AJP is estimated to cost $2.6 trillion over eight years. In total, it reads much like the proposals Biden shared during the 2020 campaign. It differs from the pre-election outline mainly in the structure of the tax increases proposed to pay for it.