SAN ANTONIO – President Joe Biden unveiled his $2 trillion infrastructure plan on Wednesday, promising major investments in modernizing the nation’s transportation system. But the hefty price tag is also drawing some opposition.
“It is a once-in-a-generation investment in America,” Biden said during a speech in Pittsburgh. “It’s big, yes, it’s bold, yes, and we can get it done.”
The overall plan includes $621 billion in transportation spending, including 115 million to modernize roads, bridges and highways and it includes $20 billion to boost existing safety programs... and to fund new vision zero plans, aimed at reducing crashes and fatalities especially for cyclists and pedestrians.
The overall plan includes $621 billion in transportation spending, including $115 million to modernize roads, bridges and highways. Another $20 billion would be aimed at traffic safety programs, both boosting existing ones and funding new “Vision Zero” initiatives aimed at reducing traffic fatalities, including among cyclists and pedestrians.
Transit advocates are applauding the $85 billion that would be target at improving public transit across the country.
“VIA is fully supportive of federal participation in ensuring equitable access to public transit for our community. Acknowledgement from the White House that transit helps provide equity and mobility confirms what we know to be true in San Antonio: VIA delivers access to opportunity,” said Rachael Benavidez, communications director for VIA Metropolitan Transit.
“Our Keep SA Moving plan, which voters overwhelmingly approved in November, is focused on moving more people, faster, connecting them to more jobs and opportunities, and expanding transit options to fit diverse mobility needs. That will only be possible with additional funding and support at the federal and local levels.”
Biden is proposing to pay for the plan through reversing the corporate tax rate cuts passed by Congress during the Trump Administration. And that’s drawn opposition from business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It supports infrastructure upgrades, but said things like tolls or an increase in federal gas tax should cover the cost instead of corporate taxes.
But that would go against the president’s pledge of not raising taxes on those who make below $400,000 a year.
The plan also places a special emphasis on green jobs and using infrastructure to combat the effects of climate change, something that drew the support of Congressman Lloyd Doggett.
“Significant transportation provisions incentivize electric vehicles and build systems that reduce greenhouse gas pollution such as ongoing public transportation initiatives in Austin and San Antonio,” said Rep. Doggett, who represents portions of both cities in Congress.
Many Republicans oppose the plan not only because of the tax proposal, but because of the other priorities listed by the administration.
“The only thing it appears they are in favor of is more government spending, more taxes, and more government power over your life,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told Fox News on Wednesday.
The plan has to pass both houses of Congress, so it may look at lot different than what it does now.
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