A crew works on a cell tower in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
If good politics is good politics, then the Infrastructure Investment Law is both. It’s good for the country that barely has a C- grade in our infrastructure, and good for the American worker.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its lockdowns have brought our economy to a temporary standstill. How someone fared depended on their circumstances.
Often times, when someone could make a living from the comfort of their home with online video calling with access to high-speed internet, they did quite well.
When someone worked with their hands, it was often very different. Employment levels and opportunities have not returned to pre-pandemic levels in the lower quintiles of our economy. This is where the cross-party infrastructure law comes into play.
Uneducated Americans often work in the construction, manufacturing, services, and oil and gas industries. Any economic program that predominantly stimulates these sectors benefits these working class families disproportionately.
That is exactly what the cross-party infrastructure law does. Major investments in roads, bridges, highways, broadband, coastal stability, ports, and waterways create jobs, opportunities, and improve the lives of all Americans.
For families and small businesses who don’t have access to high-speed Internet, the bipartisan infrastructure bill is spending billions to ensure that all Americans have such access. For communities affected by severe flooding, FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers are receiving billions in efforts to reduce the risk of flooding.
For cities plagued by power outages after storms like the one in southeast Louisiana, the bipartisan infrastructure bill provides billions to harden the power grid and make it more reliable. Doing these things creates jobs and provides real solutions to real problems Americans face every day.
Now is our opportunity to show working Americans that Washington is ready to invest in them. Every aspect of this bill will provide a job for Americans who have felt abandoned for far too long. This law is a golden opportunity for the American worker.
There is a lot of lip service and platitudes towards American workers. But that’s more than a topic of conversation. This is an obligation to invest in their future and the future of this country. This is reflected in our political decisions and in the text of the bipartisan infrastructure law. It passed the US Senate by an overwhelming majority 69-30 last month and is now waiting for a vote in the US House of Representatives next week.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill provides for new spending of $ 550 billion. This is made up of $ 110 billion for roads and bridges, $ 66 billion for people and goods, $ 65 billion for broadband, $ 65 billion for strengthening America’s energy and power grid, $ 54 billion for water infrastructure, $ 46 billion for resilience, $ 25 billion for airport improvements, $ 21 billion for contaminated site clean-up, $ 47 billion for public transportation, and 17 . $ 4 billion for ports and waterways.
Analysis of the bill shows that long-term investment in capital will improve economic efficiency, productivity, GDP and revenues without increasing inflation.
Studies have even shown that the bipartisan Infrastructure Act would create around half a million new production jobs by 2024.
In addition, Penn Wharton stresses that these federal investments will generate additional private capital which, when coupled with increased productivity, will raise wages for American workers.
Now is the time to make sure those who have been locked out of the zoom economy have a chance 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 for Louisiana.