Biden leads the way on infrastructure, Build Back Better Plan

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. President Biden signed this into law on Nov. 15. 

The measure will bring $3 billion to Nebraska, and is leading the way on his Build Back Better Plan, which will make critical investments in our  kids, families, communities and nation.

What the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act does for Nebraska

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century.

The need for action in Nebraska is clear and recently released state-level data demonstrates that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will deliver for Nebraska. For decades, infrastructure in Nebraska has suffered from a systemic lack of investment.

The historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make life better for hundreds of thousands of Nebraska residents, create a generation of good-paying union jobs and economic growth, and position the United States to win the 21st century.

Specifically, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will:

Repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.

In Nebraska, there are 1,302 bridges and over 1,125 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 6.6% in Nebraska, and on average, each driver pays $461 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system.

Based on formula funding alone, Nebraska would expect to receive $2 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act over five years.

Nebraska can also compete for the $12.5 billion Bridge Investment Program for economically significant bridges and nearly $16 billion of national funding in the bill dedicated for major projects that will deliver substantial economic benefits to communities.

Improve healthy, sustainable transportation options for millions of Americans.

Nebraskans who take public transportation spend an extra 82.5% of their time commuting and non-White households are 4.7 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 19% of transit vehicles in the state are past useful life.

Based on formula funding alone, Nebraska would expect to receive $186 million over five years under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve public transportation options across the state.

Build a network of EV chargers to facilitate long-distance travel and provide convenient charging options.

The U.S. market share of plug-in electric vehicle (EV) sales is only one-third the size of the Chinese EV market. The President believes that must change. The bill invests $7.5 billion to build out the first-ever national network of EV stations.

These values are estimates and may change based on updated factor data each fiscal year.  Transit formula funding amounts are subject to changes resulting from the 2020 census or from annual transit service data reported to FTA’s National Transit Database.

This is  a critical element in the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to accelerate the adoption of EVs to address the climate crisis and support domestic manufacturing jobs. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Nebraska would expect to receive $30 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state.

Nebraska will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging.

Help connect every American to reliable high-speed internet.

Broadband internet is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected. Yet 13% of Nebraska households do not have an internet subscription, and 2% of Nebraskans live in areas where, under the FCC’s benchmark, there is no broadband infrastructure.

Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Nebraska will receive a minimum allocation of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to at least 33,650 Nebraskans who currently lack it. And, under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, 449,000 or 24% of people in Nebraska will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.

Prepare more of our infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyber attacks, and extreme weather events.

From 2010 to 2020, Nebraska has experienced 23 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $20 billion in damages. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, based on historical formula funding levels, Nebraska will expect to receive $16.8 million over five years to protect against wildfires and $12.7 million to protect against cyberattacks.

Nebraskans will also benefit from the bill’s historic $3.5 billion national investment in weatherization which will reduce energy costs for families.

Deliver clean drinking water to every American and eliminate the nation’s lead service lines and pipes.

Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, based on the traditional state revolving fund formula, Nebraska will expect to receive $358 million over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state and ensure that clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities.

Improve our nation’s airports. The United States built modern aviation, but our airports lag far behind our competitors.

Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, airports in Nebraska would receive approximately $111 million for infrastructure development for airports over five years.

Over the coming days and weeks, we will expect to receive additional data on the impact of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in Nebraska.

The Build Back Better Framework Will Deliver for Nebraska

President Biden’s Build Back Better framework will bring down costs that have held back families in Nebraska for decades by cutting taxes and making child care, home care, education, health care, and housing more affordable.

These investments will provide new learning opportunities for children, help parents and especially working parents make ends meet, and position the economy for stronger growth for years to come. The framework will create good-paying jobs for residents of Nebraska, combating climate change, giving our kids cleaner air and water, and making America the leader in global innovation and 21st century manufacturing.

The Build Back Better framework will:

Deliver the largest investment in child care and early education in history.

Provide access to affordable child care. Child care is a major strain for families in Nebraska, where the average annual cost of a child care center for a toddler is $11,700, meaning that a Nebraska family with two young children would on average spend 25% of their income on child care for one year.

The lack of affordable options also makes it difficult for parents, and especially mothers, to remain in their jobs, contributing to the 17.8% gender gap in workforce participation between mothers and fathers in Nebraska.

The Build Back Better framework will enable Nebraska to provide access to child care for 143,309 young children (ages 0-5) per year from families earning under 2.5 times the state median income (about $225,654 for a family of 4) and ensure these families pay no more than 7% of their income on high-quality child care.

Provide universal, high-quality, free preschool for every 3- and 4-year old in America.

Today, only 15% of the 59,758 3- and 4-year-olds in Nebraska have access to publicly-funded preschool, and it costs about $8,600 per year for those who can’t access a publicly-funded program.

The Build Back Better framework will enable Nebraska to expand access to free, high-quality preschool to more than 50,849 additional 3- and 4-year-olds per year and increase the quality of preschool for children who are already enrolled.

Parents will be able to send their children to the preschool setting of their choice—from public schools to child care providers to Head Start—leading to lifelong educational benefits, allowing more parents to go back to work, and building a stronger foundation for Nebraska’s future economic competitiveness.

Make the largest effort to combat climate change in American history.

From 2010 to 2020, Nebraska experienced 23 extreme weather events, costing up to $20 billion in damages.The Build Back Better framework will set the United States on course to meet its climate targets—a 50-52% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030—in a way that creates good-paying union jobs, grows domestic industries, and advances environmental justice.

The framework represents the largest ever single investment in our clean energy economy—across buildings, transportation, industry, electricity, agriculture, and climate-smart practices in our lands and waters. And the framework will create a new Civilian Climate Corps that will enlist a diverse generation of Nebraskans in conserving our public lands, bolstering community resilience, and addressing the changing climate, all while putting good-paying union jobs within reach.

In clean energy and in other sectors, the Build Back Better framework will also strengthen domestic manufacturing and supply chains for critical goods, benefiting American businesses, workers, consumers, and communities.

Cut taxes and reduce some of the largest expenses for workers and families.

Make education beyond high school more affordable and accessible. The average cost of a 2-year degree in Nebraska is $3,408 per year, and $9,093 per year for a 4-year degree, straining many student budgets.To help unlock the opportunities of an education beyond high school, the Build Back Better framework will increase maximum Pell Grant awards by $550 for students at public and private non-profit institutions, supporting the 31,413 students in Nebraska who rely on Pell.

The framework will also invest in minority-serving institutions and the students they serve across the country, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs).

Train America’s workers for the jobs of the future.

Of the world’s biggest economies, the United States is second to last in investing in workforce development, and funding for federal job training programs has dropped by almost half since 2001.

The Build Back Better framework invests in training programs that will prepare Nebraska’s workers for high-quality jobs in fast-growing sectors like public health, child care, manufacturing, IT, and clean energy.

Provide nutritious food options for children.

Thirteen percent of children in Nebraska live in food-insecure households, harming their long-term health and ability to succeed in school.

The Build Back Better framework will ensure that the nutritional needs of Nebraska’s children are met by expanding access to free school meals to an additional 122,000 students during the school year and providing 160,512 students with resources to purchase food over the summer.

Reduce housing costs and expand housing options.

Some 101,000 renters in Nebraska are rent-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent, while homeownership remains out of reach for many families. The Build Back Better framework will expand rental assistance for Nebraska renters, while also increasing the supply of high-quality housing through the construction and rehabilitation of over 1 million affordable housing units nationwide.

It will address the capital needs of the entire public housing stock in America and it includes one of the largest investments in down payment assistance in history, enabling more first-generation homebuyers to
purchase their first home.

Expand health care coverage and lower costs.

Health care should be a right, not a privilege, and residents of Nebraska facing illness should never have to worry about how they are going to pay for treatment.

The Build Back Better framework will close the Medicaid coverage gap to help millions of Americans gain health insurance, extend through 2025 the American Rescue Plan’s health insurance premium reductions for those who buy coverage on their own, and help older Americans
access affordable hearing care by expanding Medicare.

In Nebraska, that means 18,000 uninsured people will gain coverage and 18,600 will on average save hundreds of dollars per year.

In addition, the Build Back Better framework will support maternal health and invest in national preparedness for future pandemics.

Support families with long-term care needs.

The need for high-quality, accessible, and affordable care for older Americans and disabled Americans is only growing, but high costs and care shortages leave many to rely on family for unpaid caregiving.

The Build Back Better framework will expand access to home- and community-based care to more of Nebraska’s senior citizens and disabled citizens, and improve the quality and wages of caregiving jobs.

Cut taxes for families and workers.

Prior to the pandemic, 9% of children under the age of 18 in Nebraska lived in poverty. The Build Back Better framework will bolster
financial security and spur economic growth in Nebraska by reducing taxes on the middle class and those striving to break into it.

The framework will extend Child Tax Credit (CTC) increases of $300/month per child under 6 or $250/month per child ages 6 to
17.

This will continue the largest one-year reduction in child poverty in history. And critically, the agreement includes permanent refundability for the Child Tax Credit, meaning that the neediest families will continue to receive the full Child Tax Credit over the long-run.

The framework will also provide a tax cut of up to $1,500 in tax cuts for
101,000 low-wage workers in Nebraska by extending the American Rescue Plan’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) expansion.