December 3, 2022

United States President Joe Biden speaks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, USA on Monday, March 29, 2021.

Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Biden’s administration aims to reduce racial inequalities in transportation, housing and vocational training as part of its more than $ 2 trillion infrastructure plan outlined on Wednesday.

President Joe Biden spoke in favor of his second major legislative initiative during a speech in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Through the package, the White House hopes to create millions of jobs, revitalize American transport, and make buildings and utilities more resilient to climate change.

The plan contains several proposals to curb longstanding racial inequalities that are exacerbated by transport projects and zoning measures across the country. It would also invest in historically black colleges and universities, as well as vocational training programs for marginalized communities.

The Biden government is pushing for racial justice plans to be included in the recovery package after a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill was passed, aimed at providing economic aid to communities hardest hit by the pandemic and better distribute health care. The unemployment rate for black and Hispanic Americans was higher than that for all workers in February, according to government data, and black and Hispanic households were at greater risk of eviction than white households in December, according to a survey by the Brookings Institution late last year.

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Democrats, who tightly control both houses of Congress but are unlikely to receive Republican support, hope to pass the infrastructure proposal by the summer. It is now unclear how much party leaders would have to change in order to win enough votes to approve it. Democrats may have to use a budget vote that would allow them to pass the legislation without GOP support.

The infrastructure plan would allocate $ 20 billion for transportation to communities that have been isolated or damaged by previous projects. The White House pointed to cities like New Orleans and Syracuse, NY, where black businesses and homes were destroyed to build highways that now divide cities.

The White House asked for $ 20 billion in tax credits to build or renovate 500,000 homes in underserved communities.

The Biden government’s proposal also aims to curb exclusion zone laws, including restrictions on apartment buildings, which have often contributed to segregation and higher prices. Biden’s proposal would give grants to cities and states that introduce fairer zoning.

Due to zoning and other guidelines, color communities are also more likely to live in areas exposed to extreme weather conditions. The White House wants to invest in improving the resilience of housing, utilities, food infrastructure and transportation in these communities to climate change and weather damage.

The proposal also provides for $ 25 billion to be invested in HBCUs and other minority service facilities for research and development, along with programs including graduate scholarships.

The $ 100 billion workforce development plan included in the plan would aim to reduce racial inequalities in the training and recruitment of workers.

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