Washington, D.C. — As congressional leaders and the White House consider bipartisan work on an infrastructure package in the new Congress, the Center for American Progress today released a report that outlines key benchmarks for any comprehensive, progressive infrastructure package. CAP’s report stresses that an infrastructure agreement must raise wages, rebuild struggling communities, and achieve a greenhouse gas reduction target.
“Congress and the White House have a major opportunity before them for a meaningful infrastructure agreement. But while we urgently need major new federal investments in infrastructure, simply throwing money at the problem isn’t sufficient,” said Kevin DeGood, director of Infrastructure Policy at CAP and a co-author of the report. “Any infrastructure package developed by Congress must also protect workers and expand opportunities for advancement through strong anti-discrimination, wage, benefit, and apprenticeship standards, as well as redress discriminatory policies that unfairly burden low-income communities and communities of color with pollution, geographic isolation, or worse.”
“Any progressive infrastructure plan must put the country on a clear path toward a clean energy economy,” said Alison Cassady, managing director of Energy and Environment Policy and a co-author of the report. “Working families and communities on the front lines of climate change should sit at the center of any plan to transform our economy at the scale and pace necessary to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis.”
To raise wages, rebuild struggling communities, and achieve a greenhouse gas reduction target, CAP’s report underscores that any federal infrastructure bill must include the following characteristics:
- Robust: The United States faces an enormous infrastructure investment gap and pressing climate challenges that require immediate and substantial investment. Over the next 10 years, Congress should provide at least $1 trillion in direct federal infrastructure spending above baseline after adjusting for inflation.
- Comprehensive: The bill should provide funding for sectors that have historically received federal support, including transportation, water, clean energy, affordable housing, community health and rural broadband internet. Additionally, Congress should expand the scope of its support to include K-12 schools and child care, among other sectors.
- Climate smart: The bill should make a down payment on transforming the United States economy from one reliant on fossil fuels to one rooted in clean energy. The bill also should help states and cities plan for the impacts of climate change and build resilient and accessible infrastructure.
- Raises wages and improves job quality: Even with the unemployment rate at less than 4 percent, wages for working American have barely increased. The bill should include a suite of policies designed to boost workers’ wages and benefits, provide opportunities for advancement, and make it easier for workers to unionize, among other labor improvements.
- Targeted, equitable, and transparent: Federal funding should be targeted to those communities facing the greatest need. Resources should redress the harms of geographic isolation and excessive pollution caused by past and present infrastructure policies and projects, as well as racial discrimination. Moreover, the bill should ensure environmental review continues to provide transparency and public engagement in project planning.
Click here to read: “Building Progressive Infrastructure: How Infrastructure Investments Can Create Jobs, Strengthen Communities, and Tackle the Climate Crisis” by Kevin DeGood, Alison Cassady, Karla Walter, and Rejane Frederick
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