Biden Infrastructure Plan–Big on Ideas, but Lacking on Financing and Funding Details

As we head into the heart of Election 2020, the doldrums of summer can provide an outlet for candidates of all ideologies to present their policy ideas, and in most years these proposals tend to fall on deaf ears as Americas far and wide are enjoying their summer vacations.  As you know, this year is different, very different, and Americans far and wide continue to struggle with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout that has followed.

Enter Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president.  This week Mr. Biden started to address an issue that is important to the BDA and America as whole, infrastructure and public works.  At this point, infrastructure is the broken-record that Washington just cant shake, but many hope that with the new beginnings that 2021 may bring, infrastructure investment and public works will be near the top of that list of possibilities.

In a paper titled, “The Biden Plan to Build a Modern, Sustainable Infrastructure and an Equitable Clean Energy Future,”Biden steps away from the House Democratic Majorities “Green New Deal” policies, and works to streamline and mainstream  environmental changes with common sense infrastructure investments with a price tag of $2 trillion dollars.

Some highlights include:

  • Create millions of new jobs rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure – from roads and bridges to green spaces and water systems to electricity grids and universal broadband – to lay a new foundation for sustainable growth, compete in the global economy, withstand the impacts of climate change, and improve public health, including access to clean air and clean water;
  • Provide every American city with 100,000 or more residents with high-quality, zero-emissions public transportation options through flexible federal investments with strong labor protections– ranging from light rail networks to improving existing transit and bus lines to installing infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists;
  • Move ambitiously to generate clean, American-made electricity to achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035;
  • Spur the construction of 1.5 million sustainable homes and housing units.

One major issue missing from the document is how Candidate Biden and his potential administration plans to pay for this sweeping infrastructure and public works package.  As the Congress moves towards a 5th stimulus measure prior to August recess, many experts believe that barring another economic shut-down, massive spending measures will be hard to pass in the coming years.

The BDA believes that because of this likely fiscal belt tightening, many bond provisions will be well suited for inclusion in any infrastructure plan next year due to their minimal cost to the federal taxpayer.

This includes many BDA and municipal market legislative priorities such as:

  • The reinstatement of advance refundings;
  • Raising the BQ debt limit;
  • Expansion of the usage of PABs, and
  • The creation of a new BABs program exempt from sequestration.

The BDA will continue to press for passage of these measures in 2020, however plans to push either the Trump or Biden Administration to include these provisions such as in H.R. 2 the Moving America Forward Act in any potential infrastructure or public works package next year.

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