Pittsburgh — The next major initiative for President Joe Biden's administration will be an infrastructure package to rebuild both physical and technological infrastructure across the US, with Biden set to announce details of the plan at an event in Pittsburgh next week, Biden said during his first press conference with media at the White House March 25.
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"If you think about it, it's the place where we will be able to significantly increase American productivity while at the same time providing really good jobs for people," Biden said.
Biden, who will travel March 31 to Pittsburgh, is expected to push for a "Build Back Better" plan that could have a price tag as high as $4 trillion, Reuters reported.
A major investment in infrastructure needs to be made so that the US can compete on a global scale, Biden said, noting that the largest consideration for companies in investing in any city is access to adequate transportation and infrastructure.
"We rank 13th globally in infrastructure [and] China is investing three times more in infrastructure than the US," Biden said.
More than one-third of US bridges need repair and one out of every five miles of US highways and major roads is in poor condition, Biden said.
The American Society of Civil Engineers graded overall US infrastructure at a "C-" in its latest four-year review, released March 3. While US infrastructure moved up from a "D" grade range for the first time in more than 20 years, significant work remains, the ASEC said.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg testified March 25 in front of the House Transportation Committee, telling the bipartisan panel that US infrastructure needs exceed $1 trillion and inaction on this front would be a threat to the country's future.
"I believe at this moment we have the best chance in any of our lifetimes to make a generational investment in infrastructure that will help us meet the country's most pressing challenges today and create a stronger future for decades to come," he said.
With revenues from gasoline taxes falling, Buttigieg said the DOT is committed to finding stable, predictable multi-year funding for the Highway Trust Fund.
When pressed on Buy America waivers that still exist, Buttigieg said the administration will be reviewing all existing waivers to ensure it does not dilute the executive order signed by Biden on Jan 25.
The order, signed in the first days of the Biden administration, looks to strengthen Buy America and other "made in America" programs that require, among other things, that American steel and other US-produced products be used in federally funded projects.