Fixing bridges, building tunnels and expanding broadband

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Fixing bridges, building tunnels and expanding broadband

Photo Credit: Joe Holland

Successive presidents tried for so many years to pass infrastructure legislation that it became a running joke in Washington. Maybe that’s one reason polls show that voters don’t know that Biden finally broke that logjam, and did it with support from lawmakers of both political parties. It was the kind of historic investment — following years of deferred needs — that previous presidents had tried and failed to achieve.

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Article Contents

The move

In his first year as president, Biden clinched an infrastructure deal that opened the spigot for $1.2 trillion of investment into the nation’s roads, waterlines, broadband networks, airports and much more. Two years later, projects that had been languishing for years — like replacing a 110-year-old Amtrak tunnel that’s become a chokepoint into New York City or an outdated and congested bridge between Kentucky and Ohio — are finally moving forward.

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The impact

Those projects will take years to complete. Of the 40,000-plus projects that have gotten underway since the law was signed, a very small handful have had ribbon-cuttings. The new Amtrak tunnel isn’t scheduled to open until 2035. The administration is putting signs on as many projects as possibledeclaring they were “funded by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” while they’re under construction, but that’s not the same as people connecting that money to things that improve their everyday life. Still, the law is having economic impact: The construction industry has added 670,000 jobs since Biden took office.

The upshot

Republicans say massive government spending in the infrastructure law and other big Biden bills are to blame for stoking inflation. But during this year’s political campaign season, both parties stand to benefit from taking credit, and voters may finally start hearing about it — from both sides.



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