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November 24, 2021  

The Infrastructure Bill, Racial Equity, and Local Government: How Should the Money Be Spent?

November 24, 2021

The moment everyone has been waiting for has finally arrived: The $1 trillion infrastructure bill is being signed into law. The bill will deliver $550 billion in new federal investments over the next five years, and includes $110 billion in new spending for highways, bridges, and roads. It also includes $105 billion for transit and rail investments, $65 billion for broadband upgrades, and a whole lot more—everything from investments in airports and ports to environmental remediation.

As one might imagine, the original aspirations of the bill from the perspective of a lot of people were not necessarily met, as the legislation required a consensus from all ends of the political compass. According to a recent article from The New York Times, critics of the bill are not only concerned with the particulars of what is funded, but also how the funding will be administered.

The decision for how half the money is spent falls on the states, meaning that states that are not aligned with what the federal government envisions for infrastructure spending (particularly with regard to racial equity) could neglect projects that would remediate the negative impacts of past infrastructure decisions, and potentially invest in projects that make matters worse.

This week on Upzoned, regular host Abby Kinney and special guest Strong Towns Board Member John Reuter take this article from The New York Times and “upzone” it. That is, they examine it through the Strong Towns lens—which was already plenty skeptical of the infrastructure bill to begin with, as our readers and listeners know!

Additional Show Notes