Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden has proposed a massive low-carbon transportation initiative as part of a larger, $1.3-trillion infrastructure overhaul plan that would jump-start America's electric vehicle infrastructure and support the auto industry as it shifts toward renewable energy.
Biden outlines a multi-pronged approach that would not only include the proliferation of electric-vehicle charging stations, but push for greater investment in mass transit infrastructure—including high-speed rail—over the coming decade and make allowances to keep existing auto industry jobs in the face of what appears to be yet another looming recession. The ultimate goal would be net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050.
The plan proposes hundreds of billions in transportation infrastructure improvements; low-carbon trucking, shipping and aviation initiatives; and federal clean energy research.
To address manufacturing and labor employment, Biden's plan would increase funding for the existing Manufacturing Extension Partnership, incentivize low-carbon manufacturing strategies and designate $6 billion in tax credits for communities that have experienced layoffs due to the downsizing of manufacturing and other blue-collar industries.
The tax credit would be an expansion of the Manufacturing Communities Tax Credit that was proposed under president Obama, which was geared toward assisting communities that had been supported by government operations and contracting.
Biden's plan is light on details in one key area: funding. His proposal suggests that the burden will not fall on the U.S. middle class, but does not lay out exactly how it would actually be paid for.
The candidate is not alone in that respect. Infrastructure was one of President Trump's key campaign talking points. During his first term there's been neither a plan to address it nor a concrete means for funding it.
At one point, Trump suggested that his administration would potentially support an increased federal gasoline tax in order to pay for infrastructure maintenance and improvements, but nothing has come of that so far.