Last week, in a speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, President Biden outlined an “infrastructure and climate” plan that involves spending more than $2 trillion on a variety of products. This involves the repair of aging highways and bridges, school buildings and hospitals, the use of new electric vehicles in bus fleets, tax incentives and rebates for electric cars as personal transportation, and much else.
The word “infrastructure” entered mainstream political usage in the early 1980s, after the high-profile failure of a bridge over the Mianus River, near the Connecticut/New York border, encouraged national attention to the age and condition of the physical media of commerce.
The word is very elastic. Aside from roads and bridges, it can refer to pipes, wires, buildings, broadband cellular networks, port facilities, and so forth.
The Thing to Know:
During the Trump administration, the phrase “infrastructure week” became a running joke. The Trump team declared an infrastructure week in June 2017, but then the President torpedoed the suggested focus by accusing former FBI director of perjury. Repeated subsequent efforts to reschedule and refocus on the issue bore no results worth mentioning here. All this means that the Biden administration now can try to deliver on something that its precursor merely talked about.