Following months of debate, President Biden is backing a bipartisan infrastructure proposal that would invest $1.2 trillion in a number of infrastructure-related sustainability, resiliency and equity measures. Although this proposal does not address the goals set forth in the American Families Plan, it does closely align with the goals of the president’s American Jobs Plan.
NMHC is pleased both sides of the aisle have come together to propose this historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure. Addressing infrastructure has been a key NMHC priority for several years because infrastructure and housing are inextricably linked. Our industry is directly dependent on the condition and availability of suitable transportation options, reliable water and utility infrastructure, and broadband and telecommunications service—all of which are addressed in this proposal. While some previous infrastructure proposals have included housing-specific provisions that are not envisioned here, we remain optimistic about their consideration in other priority legislation.
If passed, the broad-sweeping proposal would mark the nation’s most significant investment in infrastructure and would be paid for “by closing the tax gap, redirecting unspent emergency relief funds, and other offsets.” Although specific details have not yet been released, the following provisions have been agreed upon:
- Public Transit: The plan would modernize and expand transit networks, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Road and Bridges: With a focus on resilience, equity, and climate change, the plan would repair and rebuild roads and bridges for all travelers—including drivers, walkers and cyclists.
- Electric Vehicles: The plan proposes an expanded electric vehicle charging network, including access in rural and disadvantaged communities. Additionally, it proposes the electrification of thousands of public buses.
- Clean Water: With the goal of delivering clean drinking water to up to 10 million families, the proposal aims to eliminate lead service lines and pipes.
- Broadband: The proposal would work to close the digital divide by delivering high-speed internet to every American.
- Clean Energy: The proposal would upgrade the nation’s power infrastructure by building thousands of miles of new transmission lines. It would also create an Infrastructure Financing Authority to facilitate the federal spending of clean transportation and energy.
- Climate Change Mitigation: In an effort to create additional union jobs, the proposal would launch a cleanup effort to address long-term pollution challenges.
- Resiliency: To better guard against the negative impacts of climate change, cyber attacks and extreme weather, the proposal would invest in both physical and natural resiliency systems.
Prospects for this proposal are still unclear. Although it has garnered bipartisan support, several obstacles may lie ahead and the timing is uncertain. Initially, the House was aiming for a package by July 4. Now that the scope, price and pay-fors have been agreed upon, legislative language must be developed and the bill will need to pass through both the House and Senate. Additionally, given this piece of legislation does not address any of the goals set forth in the president’s American Families Plan, Democrats have already expressed that their support of the bipartisan proposal will be contingent on the passage of American Families Plan legislation through means of reconciliation.
For more information on NMHC’s ongoing advocacy work in this space, please visit our infrastructure webpage.