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How the American Jobs Plan will impact the Central Coast

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Posted at 6:00 AM, May 19, 2021

President Biden’s proposed $2 trillion infrastructure improvement bill is a topic of national intrigue. Over the next decade, a local Democratic representative told me The American Jobs Plan would not only modernize the infrastructure of our country, but also create more jobs and infuse more dollars into local economies.

“This is an opportunity, during this crisis, that allows us to invest in modernizing, comprehensively, our infrastructure, and at the same time, get our economy going,” said Democratic Congressman Salud Carbajal.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the United States is in need of major infrastructure improvements, but those opposed say there’s a lot hidden in the bill that doesn’t pertain to physical infrastructure.

“There’s $700 billion in corporate welfare. These are forms of tax credits,” said Randall Jordan, Chairman of the San Luis Obispo County Republican Party. “It’s basically a bait and switch. President Biden starts talking about infrastructure, and it’s a buzz word. The money isn’t going there.”

“We are looking at infrastructure in a comprehensive way,” said Carbajal. “We’re not just going to modernize a small part of our infrastructure in our country and leave the rest dilapidated.”

Of the roughly $2 trillion, about $115 billion would go directly to transportation, including fixing roads and bridges, about $100 billion would be set aside for modernizing public schools, and about $100 billion would go toward the goal of broadband access for all Americans.

The biggest impasse between this bill being bipartisan or run through without any Republican support is the dollar sign attached with it.

“It would create some jobs, and it would help, but it needs to be earmarked for those particular jobs. Not a $2.25 trillion giveaway, which is what this is,” said Jordan.

How will the administration pay for it? A corporate tax hike from 21% to 28% would be implemented.

“This is going to impact our private sector. It’s going to impact businesses in this country and this state. It’s not going to be a good thing,” said Jordan.

“Hugely well-paid CEOs, wealthy corporations, are going to pay for this,” said Carbajal. “What the Biden Administration has said is that no one making less than $400,000 a year is going to be taxed for all of these proposals.”

But how likely is it to pass, and when could it happen? The Democratic Party could likely pass it through the House and the Senate with no Republican support. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the goal is to have the legislation passed by July 4th.

Here’s a quote from Caltrans Director, Toks Omishakin:

"President Biden's landmark infrastructure proposal is in lockstep with California's investment in transportation four years ago this month with the passage of SB 1. The state will benefit from this forward-thinking federal plan to fix our aging infrastructure, mitigate climate change by championing electric vehicles and making substantial investments in transit, address racism and issues of equity, and create millions of jobs in California and the nation."