People aren’t impressed with Biden’s ‘plan to rebuild America’
Biden could use some enthusiasm. At the moment, many Americans are not so convinced of their president at all, according to his ratings: 41 percent think he is doing well.
In the meantime, Time is running out for the Democrats. If they fail in the November 2022 by-election, they will lose their modest majority in Congress. Then it becomes considerably more difficult for the government to make Van Biden’s plans, with which he wants to give America a more social face, a reality. If elections were held now, 46 percent of adults would vote for a Republican candidate for Congress and 43 percent for a Democratic one, according to a poll by Washington Post-ABC News, which appeared this weekend.
This law – a monster investment of EUR 474 billion in bridges, the internet and public transport – should help to do this. Biden hopes that Americans will notice so much of the money injection in a year, that they almost have to reward him for that.
The law does not come out of nowhere: the quality of the American infrastructure is very poor. With the help of rope and adhesive tape, the country may not have been completely torn apart in recent years, but occasionally something does come off. Just last June, north of Miami, a 12-story building collapsed, killing 98 people.
In terms of infrastructure, the United States is lagging behind European countries and a major power such as China, where the internet and trains are faster and the drinking water is cleaner. The investments made in recent decades have always been short-term. The to-do list of torn buildings, bridges, roads and water pipes grew longer every year.
Biden calls the new law ” the ultimate blueprint for the reconstruction of America.” The question is to what extent he can benefit from it politically. The coronavirus pandemic and supply chain problems have led to huge shortages in the US retail sector. Many shops, including toy shops, are struggling with empty shelves. A month and a half before Christmas, this causes a lot of stress for the Americans.
Many are concerned about the economy. Inflation has risen sharply: the price of products has risen by 6.2%, the largest increase in 31 years. The president has been particularly busy in recent months convincing his party colleagues and the Republicans of his Build Back Better plans, of which this bill is part. No matter how busy the president seems to be with their concerns, the American voters are still not aware of it. About half of Americans blame Biden for rapidly rising inflation. More than 60 percent of Americans feel that after ten months in office, he has not achieved much.
The solution to all this, as Biden presented that Friday in the Port of Baltimore (where there have also been huge delays): his new infrastructure Act. This would increase the supply chain’s capacity and resilience, which in turn would reduce deficits, and create more well – paid jobs-from € 40 per hour.
In addition to Joe Biden, Transportation minister Pete Buttigieg and Energy minister Jennifer Granholm will be going to red states, blue states, large cities and the countryside to sell the infrastructure bill to voters. On Thursday Biden said: ‘you make such an investment once in a generation.’
Most of the money – a total of EUR 95 billion – goes to repairs of motorways, buildings, bridges, water pipes, dams and airports. Across the country, 300 thousand kilometers of highway would be in poor condition, as would 45 thousand bridges. Because the airports are so outdated, flights are regularly cancelled or changed. This alone costs the US economy billions of euros a year, and some water supply networks containing harmful substances such as Lead need to be replaced. In Flint, Michigan, many residents have been sick for years because of the polluted water flowing out of their taps.
At present, almost half of the Americans still do not have access to decent transport systems. EUR 33.6 billion will be invested in public transport and the construction of cycle paths. In addition, there are many stations that can use a refurbishment and need to be made more accessible. And there will be ferries, which will make it easier for the people of Alaska to move around. While the population increased in recent decades, the railway network remained virtually the same. Investment will be made in high-speed trains, which should better connect parts of the country.
EUR 43 billion has been earmarked for groups that have suffered from forest fires, floods, droughts and storms as a result of climate change. The White House also wants to encourage the use of electric cars by investing in electric charging stations. The US president hopes that by 2030 half of Americans will be driving electric cars, but experts doubt the feasibility of this. In any case, the Infrastructure Act provides for EUR 6.5 billion. Another 6.5 billion will be invested in cleaner energy transport, including buses, ferries and electric school buses.
In rural areas of the United States, but also in some cities with high poverty rates, broadband internet access is poor. During the pandemic, this caused problems for children who had to go to home schooling. Commercial providers do not always see reason to offer fast internet in many of these areas. By investing EUR 56 billion in broadband internet, the government hopes to close that gap, including in areas where many Native Americans live.