Biden’s infrastructure plan will help underserved communities and address systemic racism, says expert
President Biden’s budget request moving through Congress will make new investments for infrastructure in communities nationwide. While the plan will invest in traditional infrastructure projects to support transportation, education and climate change needs, it will also help social programs that address issues of systemic racism and underserved communities, says Kevin Heaslip, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech.
“Biden's plan expands the definition of infrastructure beyond the traditional definition of infrastructure,” says Heaslip. “This redefinition of infrastructure includes investing in programs such as broadband access, revitalizing communities, improving schools, providing healthcare, investing in workforce programs, and strengthening manufacturing. Many of these programs are paid for with adjustments in the tax code, including increasing the corporate tax rate.”
As Congress debates spending levels for the infrastructure proposal, Heaslip points to the political divide.
“Republicans have countered with increased funding for transportation infrastructure from previous levels, but only for traditional transportation infrastructure needs,” says Heaslip. “The Republican counteroffer has increased the length of the bill longer to help meet the funding amounts closer to the White House request, but a lower yearly funding amount which is more focused on roads and bridges.”
Kevin Heaslip is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech. His areas of expertise include transportation infrastructure and operations, transportation cybersecurity, urban transportation planning, and transportation automation and electrification. Read his full bio here.
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