Sharice Davids: A Modern Biparty Infrastructure Agreement



Road paving is only a small part of our country’s critical infrastructure.

Star File Photo

As you enter Kansas’ 3rd District from the east, you see a sign adorned with sunflowers that says, “Kansas Welcomes You,” followed by another: “Home State of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President.”

Drive a little further along the river and you’ll see the 102-year-old Central Avenue Bridge, which was closed indefinitely earlier this year due to fear of failure. Head south and you’ll find the College Boulevard bridge over Indian Creek, one of Kansas’ busiest bridges, which is still rated structurally deficient.

A few miles from the recognition of President Eisenhower, creator of the interstate highway system and champion of infrastructure, we see bridges collapsing and traffic jams. It is clear that the Eisenhower era does not cut him anymore.

Earlier this month, the Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure package – hailed by people on both sides, including Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Deb Fischer of Nebraska – as the largest stand-alone infrastructure investment in years. decades. It is backed by the United States Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, National Association of Manufacturers and more.

This bill is not absolutely perfect, but it is absolutely necessary. And with a remarkable 69 votes in the Senate, Republicans and Democrats are working together to create jobs and economic recovery through infrastructure.

Infrastructure touches so many aspects of our lives and those of future generations. I believe, as Eisenhower did, that this is the key to long term economic growth. We can make smart choices that boost U.S. competitiveness, fight climate change, and advance fairness now and into the future.

This bipartisan agreement is expected to create 2 million jobs per year over the next decade, with fair wage demands enshrined in text. It is preparing Kansas for a bright future with millions of dollars in federal funding to expand affordable high-speed Internet access, paving the way for the next big regional tech company. It promotes national competitiveness in emerging industries such as electric vehicles, with $ 6 billion to boost the advanced processing, manufacturing and recycling of U.S. batteries.

When I read this I think: It’s $ 6 billion worth of opportunity for these new industries to find a home in the Kansas City metro area.

It also meets immediate infrastructure needs, from roads and bridges to transit and rail, to waterways and airports. This magnitude of impact is significant for Kansas City, where many different transportation systems converge. Using past funding as a guide, Kansas can expect to receive $ 3.8 billion from this bill over the next five years, with $ 2.8 billion for road and bridge improvements alone. . This means federal dollars for priority projects in our region, like the College Boulevard Bridge, the Highway 69 extension, KCATA electric buses, and more.

These everyday systems connect us to each other – our families, friends and jobs – and to wider opportunities. These are extremely profitable investments and it is important that we make them with the fiscal impact in mind.

This two-party infrastructure package is paid for without raising taxes for people earning less than $ 400,000 a year. It uses both new revenue-raising efforts assessed by the Congressional Budget Office and unspent emergency relief funds. In addition, independent studies have shown that investments in this bill will have multiplier effects on the economy, improving productivity and boosting economic production without increasing inflation.

As with any compromise, there were things I wanted to see included that weren’t. This bipartisan deal features historic investments in clean power transmission, mass transit, and electric vehicles, but that’s because the last major federal transportation law dates back to the 1960s. To propel our infrastructure – and our economy – in the modern era and face the threat of climate change, I think we need to do more. This is why I will continue to push.

This bill is big, but so is the problem. The last time we saw this level of investment in American infrastructure was when Eisenhower recognized the opportunity to rebuild the economy and create jobs through infrastructure projects. His “Grand Plan” also took the compromise to become reality, but that proved him right.

We must learn the lessons of this history – that infrastructure can lay the foundation for post-crisis economic growth, and that pragmatism is important to achieve this goal – and adopt this bipartite infrastructure package without delay.

The Kansans are rightly fed up with the partisan deadlock in Washington. We currently have the opportunity to pass a transformative infrastructure bill that creates well-paying jobs, stimulates our economy, and invests in the projects that matter most to Kansans. We shouldn’t waste time doing it.

Sharice Davids represents the 3rd District of Kansas in the United States House of Representatives.

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