The White House unveiled its new Action Plan for Accelerating Infrastructure, a “whole-of-government effort” to implement legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and CHIPS and Science Act.
The main goals of the plan, according to the White House, are to complete projects on time and on budget, while creating more jobs through infrastructure projects and providing for under-served communities. While pointing to new laws, however, the administration acknowledged its limited capabilities and called upon states and the private sector to join their effort.
“Federal agencies will do their part, focused as never before on accelerating the pace of design, construction and permitting,” a White House fact sheet said. “But with over 90% of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding being delivered by non-federal agencies, our state, Tribal, regional, territorial, local and industry partners must also find ways to accelerate the delivery of infrastructure.”
Along with the plan, the White House hosted an Accelerating Infrastructure Summit Thursday morning, where state officials gathered virtually. Vice President Harris attended, thanking them for their efforts while stressing the importance of their work.
Harris recalled meeting workers in Milwaukee who were removing lead pipes, stating that such work ties infrastructure to public health as well as education, as lead pipes can cause not just physical harm but impair children’s ability to learn.
“It really does touch on so many of the facets of American life,” she said.
Replacing lead pipes is one part of the White House’s plan, as the Environmental Protection Agency will be piloting a new program in four states this fall to help underserved communities replace them. The program “will provide tools to help communities address technical, operational, and financial barriers to completing their projects,” a White House document describing the plan said.
That plan is part of the Biden administration’s effort to provide “equitable access and technical assistance” to communities that need it. The White House noted that as a result of not receiving sufficient services in the past, some communities will need help implementing services to avoid wasting time and resources. With that goal in mind, the administration will launch a Project Delivery Center of Excellence at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Massachusetts to help, and will provide training to new recipients of funding.
Harris stressed the need to “engage leaders at every level” in order to achieve the administration’s goals, thanking the state officials while vowing that this is “the next phase where we ensure that the benefits that we intend actually hit the streets of America.”