The long-awaited $2T U.S. infrastructure plan has arrived. On March 31, 2021, the Biden Administration announced the American Jobs Plan and the complementary Made in America Tax Plan. They outlined which areas could receive investment, the amount of investment required, and different ways it could get funded. At a high level, it includes investment in:1
- Transportation Infrastructure ($621B)
- Buildings, Schools, and Hospitals ($250B+)
- Infrastructure Resilience ($50B)
Energy, Water, and Digital Infrastructure
- CleanTech, clean energy, and related infrastructure ($300B+)
- Water utilities ($111B)
- Digital infrastructure ($100B)
Much of the plan is in line with the expectations set in advance of the 2020 presidential election, though there are some differences (see How a Biden Presidency & COVID-19 Could Impact Infrastructure Development). In addition to the above, it includes investment in care for older and disabled individuals ($400B), manufacturing and small businesses ($300B), innovation and research ($180B), and workforce development ($100B).
In the next section, we will take a look at each infrastructure-related investment area. Following that, we will explore how the plan could get funded and what legislation could actually pass through congress.
INVESTING IN PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Transportation: The American Jobs Plan addresses transportation infrastructure through investment in: roads and bridges; public transit; electric vehicles (EV); passenger and freight rail services; and ports, waterways, and airports. In particular, the plan would:
- Build and repair 20,000 miles of highway, roads, and streets, as well as fix 10,000 bridges in disrepair ($115B)
- Establish and grow the U.S. EV market by incentivizing EV purchases, building a network of charging stations, reshoring supply chains for EVs and batteries, replacing or electrifying transit vehicles, school buses and the federal fleet ($174B)
- Address repair backlogs for buses, rail cars, stations, and thousands of miles of tracks and other related infrastructure, as well as expand public transits reach to meet demand ($85B)
- Bolster passenger and freight rail services by addressing Amtrak project backlogs, connecting new destinations, and enhancing services in high traffic areas ($80B)
- Upgrade commerce-facilitating infrastructure by improving ports and waterways, and modernizing airports ($42B)
- Expand general transportation infrastructure in areas without affordable transportation options and where past investment created economic boundaries ($20B)
Buildings, Schools, and Hospitals: Other efforts to revitalize physical infrastructure encompass investment in commercial buildings, homes, schools, and hospitals. In particular, the plan would:
- Build, retrofit, and/or rehabilitate over 2M energy efficient and electrified housing units, low and middle-income homes, and commercial buildings ($213B)
- Improve education infrastructure by modernizing public schools, community colleges, and childcare centers with climate friendly and innovative facilities ($130B+)
- Upgrade Veterans Affairs hospitals and federal buildings by building state of the art, climate-friendly facilities (~$30B)
Infrastructure Resilience: President Biden’s plan highlights the importance of ensuring that existing and new infrastructure is resilient to climate risk, natural deterioration, and obsolescence. Investment areas in this vein include protection from wildfires, coastal resilience, and research and development in durable advanced materials. While the entire plan inherently seeks to build resilient and climate-aware infrastructure, it also carves out $50B for these efforts.
Inadequate transportation infrastructure results in significant economic losses that can be avoided with investment. Every year, traffic congestion costs our economy over $160B, motorists spend over $1,000 on lost fuel, and traffic accidents result in over 35,000 deaths (4x that of Europe per capita).2 By investing in physical infrastructure like roads, bridges, ports, and airports, the U.S. can limit economic loss by mitigating inefficiencies. Further, enhancements to public transit like offering new options, upgrading existing ones, and increasing their range can improve overall productivity by facilitating commerce and improving economic participation.
Similar benefits could come from investing in commercial buildings, homes, and hospitals. Widespread affordable housing could expand employment opportunities, while keeping consumption dollars (disposable income) in the hands of workers. The modernized nature of the structures the plan seeks to build could provide further economic benefit by improving the health of those who occupy them.
While building this infrastructure will create jobs, investment in schools can go a step further. Improving educational outcomes can ensure that more individuals are equipped with the skills needed for next-generation employment. And by offering childcare and public schooling, the U.S., can improve labor force participation rates for caregivers, bringing back those who may have been forced to leave or excluded in the past.
1. The White House, “FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan,” March 31, 2021.
PAVE: The Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF seeks to invest in companies that stand to benefit from a potential increase in infrastructure activity in the United States, including those involved in the production of raw materials, heavy equipment, engineering, and construction.
CTEC: The Global X CleanTech ETF seeks to invest in companies that stand to benefit from the increased adoption of technologies that inhibit or reduce negative environmental impacts. This includes companies involved in renewable energy production, energy storage, smart grid implementation, residential/commercial energy efficiency, and/or the production and provision of pollution-reducing products and solutions.
RNRG: The Global X Renewable Energy Producers ETF seeks to invest in companies that produce energy from renewable sources including wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biofuels.
DRIV: The Global X Autonomous & Electric Vehicles ETF seeks to invest in companies involved in the development of autonomous vehicle technology, electric vehicles (“EVs”), and EV components and materials. This includes companies involved in the development of autonomous vehicle software and hardware, as well as companies that produce EVs, EV components such as lithium batteries, and critical EV materials such as lithium and cobalt.
VPN: The Global X Data Center REITs & Digital Infrastructure ETF (VPN) seeks to invest in companies that operate data center REITs and other digital infrastructure supporting the growth of communication networks.
SNSR: The Global X Internet of Things ETF seeks to invest in companies that stand to potentially benefit from the broader adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), as enabled by technologies such as WiFi, 5G telecommunications infrastructure, and fiber optics. This includes the development and manufacturing of semiconductors and sensors, integrated products and solutions, and applications serving smart grids, smart homes, connected cars, and the industrial internet.
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Originally Posted on April 1, 2021 – What President Biden’s $2T+ American Jobs Plan Could Mean for U.S. Infrastructure
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