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New Infrastructure Spending Bill and Climate Change

Elise Holtzman Gerson

P3 Focus Blog ImagePresident Biden recently announced the administration’s climate change goals and is expected to continue to roll out new policies focusing on resiliency and targeting climate change. Tackling climate change is one of the main tenets of the administration’s $2 trillion proposed infrastructure plan, and the plan is truly the pillar of the administration’s climate change effort. The proposed bill includes: 

  • $85 billion for modernization of public transit;
  • $100 billion for resiliency improvements to the country’s electric grids;
  • $174 billion in funding for the electric vehicle market; and
  • $213 billion to construct and modernize affordable housing specifically to protect against climate disasters and improve resiliency.

The investment in electric vehicles will contribute to the administration’s most recently announced goal of cutting carbon emissions in at least half by 2030, and the modernization of the electric grids goes to the administration’s stated goal of having a carbon-free power sector by 2035. Senate Republicans recently filed a bill with a $568 billion infrastructure plan to counter the administration’s proposal. The bill does not include the investment in electric vehicles, infrastructure resiliency improvements, or affordable housing and allocates significantly less funding to public transit systems. Instead, it focuses on more traditional infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, rail, inland waterways and ports, and airports.

President Biden’s infrastructure plan is novel in that it goes beyond traditional ideas of infrastructure and focuses on resiliency and economic justice. Surely, both sides of the aisle will continue to negotiate regarding what plan will be passed, but right now, it is unclear which resiliency measures will end up in the final legislation.

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