In order to convince the voters and local public servants of both political parties that the American Jobs Plan will greatly benefit all states across the country, the Biden/Harris Administration released a 104-page document that outlined how each state would fare if the infrastructure legislation passed.
Arizona, whose over state infrastructure rated a C grade would see marked upgrades and modernization to its roads and bridges, public transportation, resilient infrastructure, broadband, drinking water, housing, caregiving, childcare, manufacturing, home energy, clean energy jobs, and veterans health sectors if the American Jobs Plan passes as is.
Please read the Arizona portion of the document below:
“For decades, infrastructure in Arizona has suffered from a systemic lack of investment. The need for action is clear:
Arizona’s infrastructure received a C grade on its Infrastructure Report Card. The American Jobs Plan will make a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure.
• ROADS AND BRIDGES: In Arizona, there are 132 bridges and over 3,100 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 11% in Arizona, and on average, each driver pays $614 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nation’s transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including $115 billion in repairing roads and bridges.
• PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Arizonans who take public transportation spend an extra 90% of their time commuting and non-White households are 2 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 4% of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life. The American Jobs Plan will modernize public transit with an $85 billion investment.
• RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE: From 2010 to 2020, Arizona has experienced 13 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $10 billion in damages. The President is calling for $50 billion to improve the resiliency of our infrastructure and support communities’ recovery from disaster.
• DRINKING WATER: Over the next 20 years, Arizona’s drinking water infrastructure will require $9.1 billion in additional funding. The American Jobs Plan includes a $111 billion investment to ensure clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities.
• HOUSING: In part due to a lack of available and affordable housing, 410,000 renters in Arizona are rent-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. The President proposes investing over $200 billion to increase the housing supply and address the affordable housing crisis.
• BROADBAND: 14% of Arizonans live in areas where, by one definition, there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds. And 45% of Arizonans live in areas where there is only one such internet provider. Even where infrastructure is available, broadband may be too expensive to be within reach. 13% of Arizona households do not have an internet subscription. The American Jobs Plan will invest $100 billion to bring universal, reliable, high-speed, and affordable coverage to every family in America.
• CAREGIVING: Across the country, hundreds of thousands of older adults and people with disabilities are in need of home and community-based services. The President’s plan will invest $400 billion to help more people access care and improve the quality of caregiving jobs.
• CHILD CARE: In Arizona, 48% of residents live in a childcare desert. The American Jobs Plan will modernize our nation’s schools and early learning facilities and build new ones in neighborhoods across Arizona and the country.
• MANUFACTURING: Manufacturers account for more than 8.6% of total output in Arizona, employing 177,000 workers, or 6% of the state’s workforce. The American Job’s Plan will invest $300 billion to retool and revitalize American manufacturers.
• HOME ENERGY: In Arizona, an average low-income family spends 6-8% of their income on home energy costs forcing tough choices between paying energy bills and buying food, medicine, or other essentials. The American Jobs Plan will upgrade low-income homes to make them more energy-efficient through a historic investment in the Weatherization Assistance Program, a new Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator to finance building improvements, and expanded tax credits to support home energy upgrades.
• CLEAN ENERGY JOBS: As of 2019, there were 62,106 Arizonans working in clean energy, and the American Jobs Plan invests in creating more good-paying union jobs advancing clean energy production by extending and expanding tax credits for clean energy generation, carbon capture, and sequestration and clean energy manufacturing.
• VETERANS HEALTH: Arizona is home to over 500,000 veterans, 9% of whom are women and 51% of whom are over the age of 65. The President is calling for $18 billion to improve the infrastructure of VA health care facilities to ensure the delivery of world-class, state-of-the-art care to veterans enrolled in the VA health care system. This includes improvements to ensure appropriate care for women and older veterans.”
Reaction to the Impact of the American Jobs Plan on Arizona.
Bonnie Heidler, the head of the Pima County Democratic Party wrote about the impact of the American Jobs Plan on Arizona by focusing on broadband. She stated:
“The American Jobs Plan will be great for Arizona as it provides substantial funding to fix so many of our problems. And, there is a direct relationship between the problems in Arizona and how they impact already marginalized communities. For example, the pandemic created a situation for families where schools were closed and children had to be online for school. If a household had a computer or was given one by the school, the fact that so many of our rural areas don’t have internet access, prevented the student from being able to attend school. The funds allocated to broadband will solve that problem and allow our marginalized communities to now have internet access, giving them opportunities that currently don’t exist for them.”
David Lujan, a former Democratic Legislative Leader and head of both the Children’s Action Alliance and the Arizona Center for Economic Progress commented that:
“I think it would be a tremendous boost for Arizona’s future to pass this. It will create thousands of jobs in our infrastructure that have been neglected. It will help us become more competitive in Arizona nationally, and internationally. This will set us on a path to a brighter future. I am hopeful Congress will pass it.”
Edder-Diaz Martinez, the Communications Director for the Maricopa County Democratic Party issued a statement that read:
“On March 31st, 2021, President Joe Biden announced the American Jobs Plan, a bold policy package that kickstarts America’s resurgence in a post-pandemic world. This new legislative measure reaffirms the President’s commitment to building back better.
Like in much of the country, Maricopa County’s highways, bridges, roads, and public transit are all in need of significant improvements. The Maricopa County Democratic Party (MCDP) is confident that President Biden’s new bold policy plan will restore American infrastructure to its once world-renowned state.
Key among this plan are the investments in high-speed broadband. As witnessed during the pandemic, broadband access is crucial for Americans of all ages. The American Jobs Plan outlines a $100 Billion investment in broadband infrastructure, so every family across the country has access to reliable, high-speed broadband.”
Matt Grodsky, the former spokesperson for the Arizona Democratic Party and now Vice President and Director of Public Affairs for Matters of State Strategies wrote:
“Arizona needs the investments allocated in the Biden Administration’s jobs plan. The future prosperity of our economy is going to be reliant on a strong infrastructure that can help us to thrive in an environment that will be continually impacted by climate change. Economic opportunity and infrastructure enhancement are going to be key issues that Democrats will be messaging in the run-up to 2022. Needless to say, it will be a huge boost to Democratic campaigns across the country if the American Jobs plan passes as it has broad support from Americans across the political spectrum.”
The American Jobs Plan is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revitalize and modernize the nation’s infrastructure and infuse needed funding into the country’s human capital deficits.
It will, as the document that outlines the needs of each state notes, help both blue and red states that are in need of vital attention and repair to their infrastructure.
Please click here to read Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent’s piece on the subject.
Leaders in Arizona’s governing arena from both political party’s should embrace this proposal and support the infrastructure bill’s contents and passage.
They should ignore the rantings of the extreme right who mostly have a 1960’s definition of infrastructure and do not want to pay for it by increasing taxes on the nation’s wealthiest individuals, families, and large businesses.
Do not subscribe to, as Sargent and others have written, the fiscal big lies that this bill, if passed, will cause the deficits to rise, small businesses to be squeezed, and the economy to slow down from the corporate tax increases.
That did not happen with the Clinton/Gore Economic Program.
That did not happen with the Obama/Biden one either.
It is unlikely to happen with the Biden/Harris program.
It is time to dismiss the extreme right’s lies and rebuild Arizona’s infrastructure so it can finally receive an A.