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January 25, 2021 12:15 PM, EST

Transformative Infrastructure Plan Emerges on Biden’s Agenda

Joe BidenPresident Joe Biden signed an executive order mandating that masks be worn in federal buildings and on federal land in a bid to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. (Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg News)

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Unveiling a multitrillion-dollar economic recovery plan meant as an investment for the country’s infrastructure is on the White House’s to-do list for the coming weeks.

President Joe Biden has explained his “Build Back Better” plan will serve as a way to “make historic investments in infrastructure,” specifically the manufacturing industry, and the clean energy sector. It will “create millions more jobs — good-paying jobs, not minimum wage jobs,” Biden said.

This “Build Back Better” proposal of about $2 trillion is said to focus on addressing climate change concerns, as well as reinforce federal environmental regulations. We’ve learned from Biden’s team the plan also will aim to pave the way for the adoption of autonomous vehicles, expand rural access to broadband, guarantee safe drinking water, and modernize highways, bridges and tunnels.

Eugene Mulero

Mulero

There is an anticipation expressed by stakeholders for the plan’s centerpiece to be a multiyear highway policy bill. (The country’s current highway law expires in September.)

And, again, for this infrastructure proposal to produce meaningful reform, a long-term source of funding will be needed.

At his Senate confirmation hearing last week, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who received a cordial reception, was praised for his knowledge of the federal transportation policy landscape.

When asked about Biden’s climate agenda and ways to fund highway projects, the nominee told senators climate change is a key priority while acknowledging that approving transformative policy directives for highway programs also are crucial.

Gina Raimondo Bio by Transport Topics on Scribd

Buttigieg went on to say his team will work with Congress to identify specific long-term funding solutions. This could come in the form of adjustments to existing user fees, or shifting toward a national program that would charge drivers for the miles they travel. This week, a Senate panel will press Commerce Secretary-designate Gina Raimondo about Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan. Policymakers in the Senate will be interested to hear how the White House intends to fund a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure effort.

The White House can’t afford a delay on infrastructure and transportation policy initiatives. Observers of the ways of Washington insist there is no better time than the start of a new administration for advancing “historic” policy bills.

The Week Ahead (All times Eastern)

Jan. 26, 10 a.m.: The Senate Commerce Committee meets to consider the nomination of Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Jan. 26, 10 a.m.: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosts a webcast titled, “Last-Mile Delivery and Electric Vehicles: Why Congress Should Support Logistics in the Next Infrastructure Bill.”

Freight Corridor

The chamber continues to remind the country of infrastructure needs.

Legislative Docket

One of Biden’s executive orders pertains to the use of masks throughout the federal government apparatus. The president ordered the federal workforce, including contractors, to wear masks during their time in federal buildings and on federal lands. Specifically, the order is meant to “halt the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by relying on the best available data and science-based public health measures.”

Biden Administration Mask Mandate 0125 Eu X by Transport Topics on Scribd

Additionally, the order requires the health and human services secretary to work with state and local officials, as well as stakeholders, on mask-wearing campaigns and public health efforts.

Buzz

Former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial in the Senate, set for February, might complicate consideration of the new administration’s policy agenda, sources tell Transport Topics.

Favorite Video

The House Republican leader stated his viewpoint.

Favorite Tweet

A breakdown of state-of-play machinations in the federal body politic.

The Last Word

The president can and should refocus his administration on creating good-paying American jobs, not sacrificing our people’s livelihoods to liberal symbolism.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Jan. 21

Mitch McConnell

We publish weekly when Congress is in session. E-mail emulero@ttnews.com with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.

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