From Texas to California, Florida to Pennsylvania, the U.S. construction industry is wondering what sort of plans President-elect Joe Biden has in store for the sector.
Donald Trump will be leaving the White House after economic growth rebounded 7.4% in the third quarter of the year, but the future of the economy is uncertain because of the long-term impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Infrastructure investment – a hot topic for years in the U.S. – would stimulate the economy, encouraging the spread of prosperity and modernising an old and, in many cases, inadequate network.
To understand what the 46th President of the United States of America aims to achieve, we need to start by looking back at Joe Biden’s campaign, when he stressed infrastructure and its revival as one of the new administration’s top priorities.
Getting America back to work with a big investment package
The President-elect emphasised the need for job creation over and over again during his election campaign. Work and new jobs can only be ensured by investing in infrastructure, construction, and in the construction sector in general. For this reason, the new administration intends to invest $2 trillion, a massive economic stimulus that will result in new projects and of course millions of jobs.
Interviewed by the magazine “Construction Dive,” Jimmy Christianson, vice president of institutional relations of the Associated of General Contractors of America, said: “He’s looking for a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure bill that includes a broad definition of infrastructure, whether it’s surface transportation, aviation, waterfront, Army Corps, civil works, flood control mitigation projects, clean drinking water, renewable energy projects, K-12 public school construction or broadband.”
Democrats in the Congress have already approved another project, for which Biden has repeatedly reiterated his support: the Moving Forward Act, a $1.5 trillion plan to invest in the modernisation of highways, bridges, schools and new energy projects.
One construction project the President-elect intends to stop is the Trump Administration’s plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, as he has said several times during his campaign.
Sustainable and modern infrastructure in Biden’s infrastructure plans
In addition to the economic benefits that the Biden plan may have in terms of jobs created, also significant is the infrastructure revitalisation project that the President-elect presented during the election campaign and published on his personal website.
The starting point for the future of America will be sustainable infrastructure and clean energy supported through the “Build Back Better” plan. “Joe Biden will launch a national effort aimed at creating the jobs we need to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure now and deliver an equitable clean energy future,” according to the campaign’s website.
The President-elect’s job creation efforts will focus on the construction of roads, bridges, water management systems, hydroelectric plants, and integrated mobility: all works that can fuel sustainable growth. In the energy sector alone, the goal is to create a carbon-free power sector for the country by 2035. A separate chapter is reserved for sustainable mobility. The “Build Back Better” plan lays out a “second great railway revolution,” which will depend on the construction of new modern and fast railway system capable of connecting the largest metropolitan areas of America. At the same time, urban transport must aim to be efficient and sustainable by 2030 in all cities with at least 100,000 inhabitants.
These ambitious and short-term goals open the door to a new era of major infrastructure projects, an opportunity to modernise the country and a tool to recover from the Covid-19 crisis.