Capital Planning and Asset Management, Federal Advocacy

The New Federal Infrastructure: Are States and Localities Up to the Task?

Image of Article from June 2021 GFR

We now have President Biden’s long-awaited infrastructure plan, dubbed the American Jobs Plan (AJP). He talked often on the campaign trail about a bold new vision for infrastructure. The AJP is certainly bold. It includes nearly $2 trillion in spending over the next 15 years on a mix of traditional infrastructure like highways, water and sewer systems, and railroads, but also for “new” infrastructure like affordable housing, broadband, and electric vehicles.

For infrastructure wonks, there’s much to like. Yet the AJP doesn’t stop there. In a bold stroke of infrastructure policy intrigue, its largest spending item is $400 billion to broaden access to home healthcare. If the point of infrastructure is to support economic growth, proponents say, then in a post-COVID economy, services like home healthcare are as essential as roads and bridges. Add to this the nearly $600 billion for community college, childcare, and paid family leave in Biden’s American Families Plan, and it’s clear that he’s forcing us to rethink the notion of “infrastructure.”