Pete Buttigieg Highlights Job Opportunities And Economic Benefit Of Infrastructure Plan For Minority Communities
The U.S. is in need of major infrastructure investment and the Biden administration is ready to do it. The $2 trillion plan includes targeting water systems, transportation infrastructure, and broadband among other aspects of America’s infrastructure. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg spoke with mitú about the ambitious plan.
The Biden administration is poised to deliver one of the most ambitious infrastructure investments.
President Biden and his team want to give a post-pandemic economy a chance to recover. The way the administration plans to do this is by investing like never before into the infrastructure. The infrastructure plan unveiled by the Biden administration is focusing on more than the physical infrastructure in the U.S.
“The first thing I would say [is different] is the scale of it. We’ve built up about a trillion-dollar backlog just in terms of fixing things up like roads and bridges in this country,” Secretary Pete Buttigieg says. “Of course, it’s not enough to fix up what we have. We have to be ready for the future. This is a bill that understands that digital infrastructure is part of the infrastructure. There are a lot of Americans without broadband in rural areas, but a lot of Black and brown Americans in our cities lack internet access and that cuts you off from opportunity the same as if you don’t have a road where you live. We’re thinking about the future.”
The plan will invest money into the nation’s infrastructure in multiple ways.
The plan will give $621 billion toward the traditional infrastructure like roads, bridges, public transit, as well as the latest need in electric vehicle developments. Around $400 billion will be delivered to help care for elderly and disabled Americans. The administration’s plan includes $300 billion to focus on water systems, expanding broadband access, and upgrading electrical grids. Another $300 billion will be used for retrofitting affordable housing and upgrading schools. The last $580 billion will be going towards manufacturing and job training efforts.
Secretary Buttigieg says that the plan is looking towards the future.
It’s about more than creating an infrastructure for today, it is about future-proofing our society. This means investing in broadband so rural and minority communities have reliable access to the internet. It also means addressing infrastructure for the changing climate.
“It also means dealing with the fact that the future means a different climate. We are going to fight climate change,” Secretary Buttigieg says. “We also have to deal with the realities we have right now. If a road gets washed out because the sea level rose, putting it right back so it can get washed out again is probably not the right answer. We have to think about what it looks like in the future.”
The plan will also provide good-paying jobs.
The plan would require employing people to help build the bridges and roads and the broadband infrastructure. Jobs that come with good compensation, unions, and don’t require college degrees to get. The jobs would spread across the country as the U.S. modernizes the outdated infrastructure. However, there are more jobs that will be unlocked for people who have been disadvantaged by the current infrastructure system.
“Your commute is going to be better because we’re going to have better transit. Right now, when you have to commute two-hours both ways because you don’t have a car and the transit system is not very good, that’s really hurting economic opportunities for individuals, worker, families, often lower income workers,” Secretary Buttigieg says.
He adds: “Part of how we create more of an opportunity economically in the future is to just make it easier to get to where you need to be. So, yes, there are jobs working on the projects, but there are also just the projects that we are going to unlock by making it easier to get around.”
The Biden administration proposes an increase to 28 percent. The current corporate tax rate is 21 percent. Secretary Buttigieg says that the proposed corporate tax rate might seem like an increase but it was only recently dropped to 21 percent from its usual 35 percent. The reason for the increase is to pay for the plan without it falling on the shoulders of people making less than $400,000 a year.
“Somebody has got to pay for this and if it isn’t these giant corporations on their billions of dollars in profits, then it might be ordinary Americans,” Secretary Buttigieg explains. “We think that ordinary Americans are paying enough.”