The White House released a fact sheet lauding the benefits of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for “communities of color.”
Last week, the Senate began debate on the 2,700-page bipartisan infrastructure deal supported by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), and other lawmakers from both parties. As a compromise on President Biden’s $2.7 trillion American Jobs Plan, the $1.2 trillion package removed spending on healthcare, education, and other items unrelated to physical infrastructure.
On Tuesday morning, the White House unveiled a fact sheet highlighting the bill’s implications for “communities of color” and other disadvantaged groups:
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act addresses economic disparities in our economy and the consequences of decades of disinvestment in America’s infrastructure that have fallen most heavily on communities of color. Through critical investments, the legislation increases access to good-paying jobs, affordable high-speed internet, reliable public transit, clean drinking water and other resources to ensure communities of color get a fair shot at the American dream.
These critical investments are first steps in advancing equity and racial justice throughout our economy. The President believes additional investments are needed in our nation’s caregiving infrastructure, housing supply, regional development, and workforce development programs to ensure that communities of color and other underserved communities can access economic opportunity and justice.
Noting that black, Latino, and tribal families are respectively 9%, 15%, and 35% less likely than white families to have access to quality internet services, the Biden administration stated that the legislation’s $65 billion allocation to broadband “ensures every American has access to reliable high-speed internet.”
Likewise, the statement points out that Asian-American and African-American workers rely upon public transit at much higher degrees than their white counterparts. The legislation is, therefore, “the largest Federal investment in public transit in history” and seeks to “repair and upgrade aging infrastructure, modernize bus and rail fleets, make stations accessible to all users, and bring transit service to new communities.” It will also “replace thousands of transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero-emission vehicles.”
Arguing that “significant portions of the interstate highway system were built through Black neighborhoods,” the bill will fund the “planning, design, demolition, and reconstruction of street grids, parks, or other infrastructure” in order to reconnect communities.
The legislation would also protect ethnic minorities from the effects of living in “areas most vulnerable to flooding and other climate change-related weather events” — specifically, by “helping communities build resilience to wildfires and floods” and funding “state and local infrastructure improvements and emergency response strategies.”
Seventeen Republicans and all fifty Democrats in the Senate voted last week to begin debate on the bill.