A snapshot of the bipartisan infrastructure deal

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WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of Senators have reached an agreement to significantly increase infrastructure spending, although significant hurdles remain before the draft unveiled Thursday becomes a reality.

The White House says the deal includes approximately $ 579 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, public transportation and other public works over the next five years. If you add up the federal government’s current spending on these items, the total is approximately $ 973 billion over five years.

Here’s a look at where those dollars would go and what changes lawmakers would make to pay for the new spending.

THE BIGGEST EXPENSES:

The agreement provides for an increase of US $ 109 billion for roads and bridges. It’s the biggest item on the plan, but to put that in perspective, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates the country has a backlog of $ 786 billion in road and bridge capital needs.

The next largest items in transportation are $ 66 billion for freight and people, $ 49 billion for public transportation, and $ 25 billion for airports. Biden rode Amtrak regularly between Washington and his home in Wilmington, Delaware during his 36-year tenure as Senator and has proposed a large increase in federal funds for rail service.

Proponents say that greater use of local public transport and rail would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To accelerate the use of electric vehicles, the plan also provides $ 7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations.

In addition to transportation, the plan is also expected to increase funding for a wider network of transmission lines by approximately $ 73 billion to deliver solar and wind power to homes and businesses across the county. There is also $ 65 billion to improve broadband access and $ 55 billion to improve the country’s drinking water and sanitation systems.

THE BIGGEST FORMS OF PAYMENT:

Biden didn’t want to increase user fees, which are usually used to finance freeways and public transportation, as well as federal gas and diesel taxes. The Republicans did not want to raise corporate taxes. The result was a cash scramble. Legislators suggest paying the bill by taking dollars from existing programs, cracking down on tax evaders, auctioning off frequencies for 5G services, and at least one reliable standby for Congress to sell part of the strategic oil reserves.

According to a document by Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, lawmakers project that spending an additional $ 40 billion on the IRS through audits and improved customer service would generate approximately $ 140 billion in additional federal revenue. The agency has been hit by budget cuts that began about a decade ago, reducing the number of staff and the number of audits performed.

Another major source of income would be to reclaim $ 80 billion in unused COVID aids, as well as repay some of the additional unemployment insurance provided for in this year’s $ 25 billion COVID Relief Act. Dozens of states have turned down the $ 300 weekly benefit the federal government temporarily grants, claiming the payment prevents people from returning to work.

Lawmakers also estimate they can raise $ 65 billion through frequency auctions for 5G services and $ 72 billion by improving the integrity of state unemployment insurance systems. Fraudsters, sometimes in China, Nigeria or Russia, have bought stolen personal identification information on the dark web and inundated government unemployment systems with fake claims.



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