Remember how infrastructure is defined
President Joe Biden’s administration has its Infrastructure Report Card as part of its push to persuade lawmakers to approve trillions upon trillions of dollars to be spent on an infrastructure package that includes plenty of spending that has nothing to do with what most Americans think of as infrastructure.
Biden introduced the plan March 31, calling for some $2.7 trillion in new federal spending over the next eight years. Called the American Jobs Plan, it would be funded by increasing business taxes, hiking the corporate tax rate to 28 percent and establishing a minimum tax on corporate income.
There is no doubt an infrastructure bill is needed. The report card gives infrastructure in Ohio a grade of C-minus, saying, “In Ohio there are 1,377 bridges and over 4,925 miles of highway in poor condition.
“Since 2011, commute times have increased by 5.7 percent in Ohio and on average, each driver pays $506 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair,” Biden’s report says, adding, “The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nations’ transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including $115 billion repairing roads and bridges.”
The report also indicates that during the next two decades, Ohio’s drinking water infrastructure will require $13.4 billion in additional funding. And it discusses broadband access and infrastructure that has been damaged by major weather events in Ohio.
It’s hard to argue with any of these points.
But then the report ventures into caregiving, child care, manufacturing, home energy, clean energy jobs and veterans health.
Indeed, these are important topics presenting challenges Ohioans know they must face. They are not, however, infrastructure, nor should a bill that is absolutely necessary be put at risk because lawmakers rightfully are worried about spending the unfathomable sums Biden is proposing on projects that have been wedged in where they don’t belong.
This report released by Biden is called “American Jobs Plan: The Need for Action in Ohio.” It is full of data that indeed should be worrying to Buckeye State residents. It should not prompt members of Congress to give the green light for a bill that amounts to a wish list for which no one has explained how we will pay. And it is important to understand we will pay for this.
That means we must let Ohio’s delegation know where we draw the line. Roads, bridges, drinking water, broadband are infrastructure challenges we must address. The rest requires separate discussion and plans for funding. Surely the folks in Washington, D.C., know that.