Biden promotes infrastructure investments in visit to Missouri

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“No more talking. Action!”

By TIM ROWDEN
Managing Editor

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN launched his Build A Better America tour on Dec. 8 at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority in Kansas City, Mo. – Jake Hummel/Missouri AFL-CIO photo

Kansas City, MO — President Joe Biden came to the Show-Me state for his first stop on the Building A Better America tour, visiting the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority on Dec. 8 to tout the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill he signed into law last month, and the billions of dollars of investment it will deliver roads, bridges, transit, rail, electric vehicles, clean drinking water, high-speed Internet, more resilient transmission lines in Missouri.

Biden said the investments amount to a “blue collar blueprint” for rebuilding the country and providing more good-paying jobs and economic opportunities for working Americans.

Biden met with transportation officials and union workers before speaking to the larger crowd.

UNION JOBS
“President Biden took office with big ideas focused around union jobs,” said Jake Hummel, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO. “He set a goal to pass a bipartisan bill in an age of steep polarization and partisanship in this country and in Washington D.C. But as he promised on the campaign trail, he delivered for the American people.”

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure law is the most significant investment in the country’s aging infrastructure since the construction of the interstate highway system, Hummel said.

“This bill provides Missouri alone with around a $7.9 billion in investment,” Hummel said. “These are UNION jobs for many years to come.”

The United States emerged as a global leader in the 20th century because of “our willingness to invest in ourselves,” Biden said, citing the space race and construction of the federal highway system.

Today, China and the rest of the world are catching up and moving ahead. Our nation should and can be doing better, he said.

“We never break. We never stop. We Americans always rebuild, and we will rebuild this country,” Biden said, repeating the promise he made on the campaign trail.

“When I announced for office, I said I was running for three reasons,” Biden said. “One, to restore the soul of this country, a sense of decency and honor. Two, to rebuild the backbone of this country, working class and hardworking middle class people — that’s the backbone of this country. And thirdly, to unite the country, which is turning out to be one of the most difficult things, but we’re going to get it done.”

HIGHWAYS AND BRIDGES
Missouri’s highways have been woefully underfunded for decades. With more than $4.5 billion in unfunded needs, workers have struggled just to keep pace with basic maintenance. The Missouri General Assembly last spring increased the state’s transportation gas tax for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Under the infrastructure funding bill Missouri is expected to receive $6.5 billion for federal highway programs and $484 million for bridge repairs and replacement. Illinois will receive $9.8 billion for federal highway programs and $1.4 billion for bridge replacement and repairs.

DRINKING WATER
The bill also allocates $866 million to Missouri and $1.7 billion to Illinois to eradicate lead from drinking water systems and update infrastructure. Illinois has the highest number of lead pipes of any U.S. state, with more than 679,000 carrying water from mains into residents’ homes. Missouri ranks sixth with 330,000. Both states have large numbers of children with detectable lead levels in their blood

EXPANDED BROADBAND ACCESS
Both states will also get hundreds of millions to expand broadband service to disconnected rural areas and low-income families that can’t afford internet access.

Biden said no parent in 21st century America should have to sit in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant for their children who are attending school virtually to be able to access the internet. “This is the United States of America, for God’s sake,” he said.

TELL YOUR STORY
In his visit, President Biden announced a new website, BUILD.GOV (https://www.whitehouse.gov/build) and asked union members and leaders to share their stories about how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will impact them and our communities.

NO MORE TALK – ACTION!
“Building a Better America happens from the bottom-up and middle-out with good-paying, union jobs,” Hummel said. “President Joe Biden chose Kansas City, Mo. for his first stop on the Building A Better America tour [because] he knows the value of our work here in the Show-Me State.

“As President Biden said today, ‘No more talking. Action.’ Let’s continue working hard for our union workforce in Missouri!”


 

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