The lower house of the American Congress, where the Democrats have the majority, approved today an important bill worth 715 billion dollars for the transport infrastructure, which opens potential investments in roads, railways, public transport and water supply over five years.
The law was adopted mainly along party lines with 221 votes in favor and 201 against.
This law could serve as a start for negotiations on an “infrastructure package” that would be supported by both parties.
US President Joseph Biden and a group of senators from both parties have already agreed on a draft of the “package”, but that has not yet been turned into the text of the law. Democrats will advocate for the inclusion of many of the provisions of the law passed today when Congress considers a broader bipartisan document this summer.
The main author of the law, Peter DeFazio, said that the proposed investment will enable the United States to repair bridges, roads and tunnels, and thus increase economic competitiveness, while at the same time fighting the new existential challenges of climate change.
“We have to rebuild in a way we never thought of before. It will be expensive but the good news is that it will create millions, millions of well-paid jobs,” DeFazio said.
The law is the starting point for some of the investments in public works that President Biden talked about, but he leaves the decision on how to pay for it for another day.
Biden proposed an increase in the corporate tax to finance infrastructure investments, but Republicans oppose it and would vote against it. A group of 10 senators from both parties, which is negotiating a plan worth almost a thousand billion dollars, has narrowed the possibility to several potential sources of financing that do not include tax increases.
Republicans opposed the traffic bill discussed today because it does not include a funding mechanism.