National CAPACD Applauds the Signing
of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act
Yesterday, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, a historic $1.2 trillion dollar investment in our country’s physical and digital infrastructure to position our communities for a sustainable and equitable economic recovery and advance strategies to combat the climate crisis. National CAPACD applauds the Administration for their commitment to this bipartisan bill, which will rebuild our roads and highways, improve our public transit systems, increase access to affordable, high-speed Internet, invest in clean energy and drinking water, create millions of better-paying jobs, and expand support for small businesses.
Historically, large-scale investments in our infrastructure have overlooked low-income communities of color – or actively harmed them by dividing neighborhoods and displacing communities. National CAPACD appreciates the Administration’s efforts to redress previous inequities in access to resources, including a $55 billion provision to replace all of our country’s lead pipes and service lines, representing the largest investment in clean drinking water in our history. The bill also works to bridge the digital divide and expand access to the digital economy with a $65 billion provision to bolster broadband access and affordability, including a monthly subsidy for eligible households.
National CAPACD is encouraged by the bill’s commitment to expanding economic opportunity through the creation of millions of better-paying, union jobs. It also codifies the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and allocates $110 million in annual funding through 2025 to the MBDA. We hope that the Administration will continue to invest in entrepreneurship as a pathway to economic growth and security, particularly for entrepreneurs of color and immigrants. This includes expanded resources and support for small businesses owners and micro-entrepreneurs, who represent the majority of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI owners) – many who were severely impacted by the pandemic and did not have timely or adequate support available to them.
National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani states, “National CAPACD has advocated and affirmed our support for this legislation with our members over the last few months. Now we are ready to work with the Administration to ensure that investments in infrastructure reach and benefit AAPI communities and other communities of color. Historically, communities of color have been redlined, divided, and displaced by infrastructure investments, and they have been disparately harmed by the impacts of pollution and climate change. We must ensure that any infrastructure agenda is also a racial justice agenda that delivers a sustainable, resilient, and just economy.”
An investment in physical infrastructure, including efforts to redress physical barriers and challenges that have historically disadvantaged communities of color, provides us a roadmap to move forward – it is an unparalleled investment in our future generations. We must also, however, urge the Congress to vote swiftly on the Build Back Better Act to grow our economic, housing, and social infrastructure – including the legislation’s historic investments of over $150 billion in affordable housing and community development programs to increase and preserve affordable housing and homeownership opportunities. These investments are essential and will offer our communities that need today a robust recovery from the pandemic and economic conditions that too often left them behind even before the pandemic. Only then can our communities support the future generations who will benefit from the investments made through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.