Biden unveils infrastructure proposal, including broadband |

Biden unveils infrastructure proposal, including broadband

In a speech in Pittsburgh, President Biden unveiled a $2 trillion infrastructure proposal that covers traditional projects such as roads, bridges and inland waterways but would also attempt to reduce greenhouse gases and bring high-speed internet service to remote parts of rural America.

In his speech, Biden said, “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”

“It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It’s a once-in-a generation investment in America, unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the Interstate Highway System and the Space Race decades ago.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release, “Just as the American Rescue Plan is helping families recover from the pandemic and recapture hope for a brighter future, the American Jobs Plan will help us rebuild our economy and rural communities and create good-paying jobs with staying power — enough to support a family, have a good home, and give our children a brighter future.”

“President Biden believes this is the moment to reimagine and rebuild our country’s infrastructure and reinvest in American competitiveness and leadership,” Vilsack said.

“The plan promises to close the broadband gap in rural America for millions of Americans, which is so critical for health care, education, and employment in our digital age. I look forward to working with Congress to make these plans a reality for American workers and rural communities and thank President Biden and Vice President Harris for their vision and commitment to rebuilding the middle class.”

National Farmers Union President Rob Larew said, “We sincerely hope that this will set the stage for comprehensive improvements that strengthen rural communities, build resilience to climate change, and hasten economic recovery. In the coming weeks and months, we look forward to reviewing the plan and subsequent legislation in greater detail, including the pay-for provisions.”

Chris Gibbs, an Ohio farmer and board president of Rural Voices USA, a nationwide network of farmers and rural community leaders who were critical of President Donald Trump said, “Getting this done in a bipartisan manner should be the priority but putting these investments on hold any longer shouldn’t be an option.”

“Rural Voices USA strongly supports President Biden’s American Jobs Act and the benefits it will provide for America’s rural communities. We will be a constant voice in the push to get this plan over the finish line for the rural families we represent.”

Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, said, “I look forward to seeing further details of the plan as they become available, but President Biden should be commended for recognizing the need to devote significant resources to improving our nation’s infrastructure.”

“Whenever infrastructure receives attention and a proposed strategy to improve it from any president, that is always a welcome development.”

Steenhoek added, “Given how Republicans and Democrats overall agree that improving infrastructure is a legitimate use of government resources, there is a unique opportunity to achieve something significant on behalf of the American people in a collaborative, bipartisan manner if the focus remains on enhancing roads, bridges, inland waterways, ports, railroads, etc.

“It does concern me to see the proposal extend beyond what most Americans would define as ‘infrastructure.’ Whenever legislative proposals and initiatives — especially controversial ones — get attached to a particular plan, the prospects of ultimate passage usually go down rather than up.”

The package would be financed partly by increasing taxes on companies. The proposal does not include the elimination of stepped up basis and the taxation on capital gains at death. That is a separate proposal coming from Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and others.

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