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July 29, 2021
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center Commends President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Schumer, and Bipartisan Negotiators for Advancing Legislation that Makes Vital Investments in Infrastructure, Jobs
Harrisburg, PA—The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center today commended President Joe Biden, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, and the bipartisan Senate working group for negotiating and advancing legislation to make historic and desperately needed investments in the nation’s infrastructure. The infrastructure package will create good-paying union jobs that will put Pennsylvanians to work across the commonwealth, revitalizing our roads, bridges, airports, and public transit systems and modernizing our water, power, and broadband networks.
Particularly noteworthy is the plan’s $21 billion investment in cleaning up abandoned wells and mines and Superfund sites, which exceeds what was originally proposed. Pennsylvania’s history of energy extraction and heavy manufacturing left our state in need of transformational remediation, and this investment will not only create a healthier environment but will provide good-paying union jobs for Pennsylvanians.
While there is much to praise about the legislation and the bipartisan process that created it, there are crucial components of the president’s Build Back Better agenda that were left out of the package, including important investments in home care, housing, manufacturing, and innovation.
Additionally, spending in some critical areas originally requested by President Biden in his American Jobs Plan was reduced, including clean water (21% less per year), electric vehicles (87% less per year), safety (12% less per year), and community restoration (93% less per year).
The legislation that was advanced yesterday allocates $9 billion less for public transit than what was included in the bipartisan deal that was announced on June 24th, and that is largely due to the work of Senator Pat Toomey, who demanded significant reductions in transit funding. Despite succeeding in his efforts, Sen. Toomey voted against bringing the legislation to the Senate floor for consideration, even though 17 of his Republican colleagues, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, voted in favor of cloture.
As the Senate considers the legislation, PBPC urges it to restore critical funding for public transit that is needed not only in Pennsylvania’s largest cities but in 13 smaller cities and counties across the Commonwealth that have public transit systems.
The Keystone Research Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that promotes a more prosperous and equitable Pennsylvania economy. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is a nonpartisan policy research project that provides independent, credible analysis on state tax, budget, and related policy matters, with attention to the impact of current or proposed policies on working families.