The political divide on President Biden’s infrastructure plan can be blamed, in part, on the broad scope of the legislation – which expands the definition of infrastructure beyond the traditional areas of building roads and bridges, according to a Virginia Tech expert.

“The White House proposals for infrastructure span the physical and social spheres,” says Kevin Heaslip, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech. “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.”

The senate passed a bill focusing on physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges, providing much needed operations and maintenance funding to the nation's infrastructure, noted Heaslip.

“This is needed because the Highway Trust Fund, funded by gasoline taxes, is set to have no money available starting October 1, which will effectively shut down the Department of Transportation,” he said. “The second bill is a $3.5 trillion dollar human infrastructure bill that would focus on social programs that will shore up the societal contact with the American citizen. They focus on building a bigger safety net for Americans as well as expanding liberal priorities.”

“Together the bills look to build environmental sustainability by supporting the expansion of electric vehicles by subsidy, EV charging infrastructure, as well as high speed trains and other alternatives to the gasoline powered internal combustion engine,” says Heaslip. “This program will support promises made to the Paris Climate Accord as well as the hope of ushering in new green manufacturing jobs to the United States.”

About Heaslip

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.


To secure an interview with Heaslip, please contact Shannon Andrea in the media relations office at or 703-399-9494. 

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