Infrastructure plan could create one million new jobs for construction, other fields

By Jenny LescohierAugust 31, 2021

A Skanska contractor guides heavy machinery during the construction works of the Sixth Street Viaduct replacement project in Downtown Los Angeles, California, U.S., August 11, 2021. REUTERS/Bing Guan

President Joe Biden’s $1-trillion infrastructure plan could create close to one million new middle-class jobs over the next decade in fields such as construction, engineering and accounting.

According to a new report from S&P Global, which was circulated by the White House, the plan could result in the creation of 883,600 more jobs by 2030.

“We estimate that, in real dollar terms, the project will create more in economic activity than it would cost,” the report stated. “In particular, we estimate that a $1-trillion investment in infrastructure would add $1.4 trillion to the economy over an eight-year period.”

The S&P analysis stated the infrastructure project will not only create more jobs, but wallets will be thicker as well. Per capita personal income in 2030 is predicted to be $100.50 (10.5%) larger than in the no-infrastructure bill scenario. On top of an already large household savings surplus from quarantine (about $2.4 trillion above its 2019 average), more jobs with fatter paychecks are expected to help propel households to spend an additional $677 billion over the eight-year period.

Meanwhile, the infrastructure bill, which includes $550 billion in new funding, could boost productivity in the long run, raising GDP – the broadest measure of goods and services produced in the country – by 2.1% on an annual basis over the next eight years. Without additional infrastructure spending, GDP is expected to plateau around 1.7% by 2030, according to economic projections released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in July. 

What’s included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill?

The proposed legislation includes:

  • $110 billion for roads
  • $73 billion for power infrastructure
  • $66 billion for passenger and freight rail
  • $65 billion to expand broadband access
  • $55 billion for clean drinking water
  • $39 billion for public transit, $25 billion for airports
  • $21 billion for environmental remediation
  • $17 billion for ports
  • $11 billion for transportation safety
  • $7.5 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure
  • $5 billion for zero or low-emission busses
  • $1 billion to demolish or reconstruct infrastructure that divided communities

Lawmakers have proposed paying for the infrastructure bill with unspent coronavirus relief funds, along with the collection of fraudulently paid unemployment money, unemployment money returned by states that prematurely ended a federal $300-a-week benefit, targeted corporate users fees, strengthened tax enforcement for cryptocurrencies and economic growth created by the investments.

Will the infrastructure bill pass?

The Senate passed the measure on Aug. 10 in a 69-30 vote, as 19 Republicans joined all 50 Democrats. In a 50-49 party-line vote, the Senate then proceeded to a budget resolution that would allow Democrats to approve what they see as a complementary $3.5-trillion spending plan without Republican votes through reconciliation.

The House has since voted 220 to 212 to consider what is formally being called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) no later than Sept. 27. This is viewed as a compromise between moderate Democrats, who wanted an immediate vote on the IIJA, and progressive Democrats, who wanted the IIJA vote to take place after the Senate completed action on the $3.5-trillion package.

House passage of the IIJA would allow President Biden to sign it into law before the federal highway and public transportation programs, like the Highway Trust Fund, expire on Sept. 30.

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