Wed. Apr 21st, 2021

By Hop Yen and Kevin Freaking, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – Transportation Secretary Pete Batigy on Thursday called for a once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment that would address a massive backlog in needed improvements to the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems, while climate change Will also deal with.

Buttigig avoided clarity on how it would be repaid, but said the current level of investment is “a threat to our collective future.”

“Around the country, we face a trillion-dollar backlog, which already has good projects worth billions of dollars in the pipeline to repair and improve,” said Batigiag. And economic competition. By some measures, China spends more on infrastructure every year than the United States and Europe. “

The hearing highlighted some of the hurdles that President Joe Biden’s administration would face as Congress created public works, promising Biden’s campaign to reach the political aisle to address national problems.

Congress passed the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill and Republicans are wary of adding more trillions to the national debt. They are also concerned that Democrats intend to broaden the scope of infrastructure to include investments designed to move the country towards net-zero emissions emissions.

Sam Graves of the Republican Rep said that referring to a broad democratic plan to move the US economy away from fossil fuels, “a transportation bill does not have to be a transportation bill – the Green New Deal.” “It should be about roads and bridges. … The heavier any bill becomes, the more bipartisan it is. “

Biden is meeting with economic advisors on the emerging $ 3 trillion package of investment on infrastructure and domestic programs as Buttinig’s presence in front of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He is set to release the details in a speech in Pittsburgh next week.

Biden said at a press conference on Thursday that the purpose of his proposal was to create a significant number of “really good-paying jobs” that “used to be a great Republican goal and initiative.” He said that “the majority of the American people” are badly tired of the decay of infrastructure, such as roads and bridges in need of repair, due to the effects of climate change.

“I feel frustrated,” he said. “There is so much we can do is do good things, make people healthy and create good jobs.”

Addressing Republicans being wary over Biden’s biggest policy initiative, Batigiag called the coming months “the best opportunity in any lifetime of ours to make a generational investment in infrastructure,” and new ways to curb climate change Emphasis on investments.

“Climate change is real,” he said. “Every dollar we rebuild from a climate-driven disaster is a dollar that we can spend to build a more competitive, modern and flexible transportation system that produces significantly lower emissions.”

Republicans pressed Batigiag for more information about the Biden administration’s plan to improve infrastructure, but the secretary was unclear. He said he understands that cooperation from Congress will need to arrive at a healthy balance of “how it can be paid at least partially”.

The administration’s proposal, which has not yet been finalized, would break the law on priorities in various pieces, including infrastructure components to promote roads, bridges, rail lines, electrical vehicle charging stations and cellular networks. Attract Republican support.

A second component would include investment in workers with free community colleges, universal pre-kindergarten, and paid family leave, according to a person familiar with options that emphasize anonymity to discuss private interactions.

Some Democrats have told the administration privately that they must bypass Republicans and pass infrastructure plans through a process that requires Senate passage, using their narrow party majorities in the House and Senate 51 votes are required.

When asked on Thursday whether Democrats intended to work with Republicans on infrastructure, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. Said, “In areas where we can work with our Republican colleagues, we will.”

“Hopefully, we can get them to work with us,” he told reporters. “But as I said, if we can’t, then we have to move forward.”

Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, the Democratic chairman of the House Transport Panel, said there was a broad consensus that the American public wanted to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

“They are tired of pits, they are tired of detergents, failed bridges, congestion and all the problems,” DeFazio said. “They are exhausted by the water main routes, which blow up sewer systems that return to their homes. We can do this,” he said.

At the same time, DiFazio said that the infrastructure bill would require attention to the challenges of the 21st century, a signal for climate change. He said that the country should not add new lanes to the highways, saying “what is it going to happen”.

Work has begun on this year’s infrastructure bill and other green efforts, with committee hearings and closed-door meetings.

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators, including Sen. Tom Carper, D-Dale, and Sen. Richard Burr, R.N. Stations for fuel cell vehicles by expanding the trade tax credit. Biden’s proposal is expected to include federal money to help fulfill its promise to build half a million electric charging stations, part of the US effort to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Associated Press writer Josh Bak contributed to this report.

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