Biden visits KC, touts infrastructure plan as ‘blue-collar blueprint’ for Americans | Business

President Joe Biden was in Kansas City on Wednesday, Dec. 8, to tout the bipartisan infrastructure bill, now called the Build Back Better Plan, which Biden recently signed into law.

The president landed at Kansas City International Airport before 1 p.m. and drove to the Kansas City Area Transit Authority bus barn to deliver his speech on the plan. He said he will provide a “blueprint for American workers” in terms of job creation; tax and price cuts; and necessary infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges, broadband Internet access and public transportation.

Biden was proudest of the millions of jobs, especially “union predominant jobs,” that these projects will create.

“We’re going to help rebuild the economy, this time from the bottom up and from the middle,” Biden said. “…Ninety-five percent of the jobs created in the infrastructure bill don’t require a college education. The only way it works is for blue collar Americans to build the building.

Most of the infrastructure funds going to Missouri, more than $6 billion, will be used to fix highways. Another $484 million is planned for the replacement and repair of bridges. Missouri has the sixth-largest road network in the nation, but ranks 34th in bridge gaps. Biden said the decaying roads are costing Missourians $500 per person per year.

The Missouri Department of Corrections is set to receive more than $7 billion in federal funds, much of which comes from this infrastructure bill. Biden said the money will also go to ports along the Missouri River to help move agricultural products from the Midwest to the rest of the country.

“These investments make it easier for businesses to get their goods to market, reduce those supply chain bottlenecks, and reduce costs for families,” Biden said.

Biden also mentioned St. Joseph by name, when referring to the law that will build infrastructure “against extreme weather fueled by climate change.”

“This summer you saw severe storms closing roads in Waverly, Kansas, causing flooding in St. Joseph, Columbia and Jefferson City,” he said. “When you think about the impact of more severe weather, more severe storms, none of us will ever forget the devastation in Joplin.”

Through the Infrastructure Act, Missouri is also set to receive $100 million to increase internet access.

“In 21st century America, no parent should have to do what many have had to do in the last semester,” Biden said, “which is to sit in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant so kids can use the internet to get their homework done.”

Freight trains are common in Northland, but passenger trains are not. More than $670 million is coming to Missouri to improve public transportation, from buses to trains. Biden said there should be more passenger trains across the country, including from Kansas City to St. Louis.

“All the data shows that if you get from point A to point B at a faster pace by train than by car, you are taking the train. And guess what it does? First of all, it’s safer. But second, it’s going to save us millions of barrels of oil because it’s electric. »

During his Wednesday speech, Biden said the new law would not be possible without the bipartisan support of people like U.S. Representative from Kansas Sharice Davids, U.S. Representative from Missouri Emanuel Cleaver and U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri. . All three voted in favor of the measure. Both Davids and Cleaver traveled with Biden to Kansas City. U.S. Representative Sam Graves of Missouri, whose district includes Clay County, voted against.

“It happened because we got together and worked together,” the president said, referring to those who stretched across the aisle to close the deal.

Cleaver, who served in government for decades, said he supported Biden early in his bid for president because he knew that with Biden he no longer had to wait “year after year after year for that the infrastructure ship arrives”.

“More talk, more action,” Biden said, later adding “I believe 50 years from now when historians look back on this moment, they’ll say that’s when America won the competition for the 21st century.”

Elizabeth J. Harless