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There Is Bipartisan Consensus: U.S. Infrastructure Is In Poor Shape. What Investments, Projects Are Needed Nationwide And In Texas?

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FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Biden walks past solar panels in Plymouth
FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden walks past solar panels while touring the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative in Plymouth, New Hampshire, U.S., June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

Infrastructure negotiations are ramping up in Washington, D.C. President Joe Biden has unveiled his administration's roughly $2 trillion plan to improve U.S. infrastructure and shift to greener energy over the next 8 years.

"The American Jobs Plan" would put $621 billion toward improvements to transportation infrastructure including roads, bridges, public transit, waterways, airports and electric vehicles; $300 billion to boost manufacturing; $213 billion to build and update homes and housing units; $111 billion for water infrastructure; $100 billion for improvements at public schools and community colleges; and $18 billion to modernize Veterans Affairs' hospitals and federal buildings.

Biden would also invest $100 billion to build a high-speed broadband infrastructure that provides 100% nationwide coverage; $100 billion for workforce development; $400 billion for caregiving infrastructure for aging and disabled Americans; and $180 billion to advance U.S. research and development.

There is bipartisan support for "smart infrastructure investment," but no consensus on what that means. Democrats and Republicans are in disagreement about the scope of improvements, how much to spend, and where the money should come from.

According to the White House, Biden's plan would be paid for in part by raising the corporate income tax rate from 21% to 28% — a major point of contention for Republicans. Where else could the money come from?

Biden has said he's open to other proposals and potentially scaling the package back to make it more bipartisan. What improvements and projects could be first on the chopping block, if doing so is necessary to reach a compromise?

What are the details of President Biden's plan? What infrastructure improvements are most urgent, and how much would they cost?

How could Texas benefit from a major federal infrastructure package? What's the connection between infrastructure and climate change?


  • Scott Waldman, White House reporter focused on climate change for E&E News
  • William Fulton, director of Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research
  • Dev Niyogi, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin

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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, April 22.

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