Infrastructure package scales down Biden climate investments
The bipartisan infrastructure deal the White House signed off on Thursday includes investments in key climate provisions President Biden has pushed for, but scales down investment in them.
The deal includes funding for electric vehicles (EV), the power grid and resilience, but it appears to put less money toward the programs than called for in the president’s American Jobs Plan.
That plan called for spending $174 billion to “win the EV market,” including the goal of building a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030 and electrifying 20 percent of the country’s yellow school bus fleet.
The bipartisan plan proposes a $7.5 billion investment in electric vehicle infrastructure and another $7.5 billion in electric buses and transit as part of its overall $579 billion in new spending on infrastructure projects.
Nevertheless, the White House said in its press release that the bipartisan deal “will accomplish the President’s goal of building 500,000 EV chargers.”
The plan also calls for $73 billion to upgrade power infrastructure, including building “thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines” and establish a new grid authority. The original White House plan also called for such measures, but would have invested $100 billion.
The bipartisan framework also says it will invest $47 billion in resilience, while the original plan would have devoted $50 billion for infrastructure resilience.
However, Biden also said that he won’t sign a bipartisan bill without the passage of an additional bill passed through reconciliation, which requires just 50 votes, so it’s possible that more spending on climate provisions could come through that bill.
It’s also possible that measures from his jobs plan that were not included in the bipartisan bill could appear in the other one.
Biden’s push to replace the nation’s lead service lines was also included in the bipartisan deal, with the White House statement saying it will “eliminate the nation’s lead service lines and pipes, delivering clean drinking water to up to ten million American families and more than 400,000 schools and child care facilities that currently don’t have it.”
Exposing children to lead can damage children’s brains and nervous systems.
The White House called the bipartisan framework a “critical step in implementing President Biden’s Build Back Better vision.”
“The Plan makes transformational and historic investments in clean transportation infrastructure, clean water infrastructure, universal broadband infrastructure, clean power infrastructure, remediation of legacy pollution, and resilience to the changing climate. Cumulatively across these areas, the Framework invests two-thirds of the resources that the President proposed in his American Jobs Plan,” it added.
The agreement comes after weeks of negotiations, including prior talks between Biden and Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) that fell through.
-Updated 4:52 p.m.