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Next on Democrats’ agenda, a “holistic” infrastructure bill

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A worker installs solar panels.

Climate change and green solutions, like wind and solar power, will be a likely focus of the Biden administration's infrastructure plan. Above, a worker installs solar panels. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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As soon as the coronavirus relief bill was in the rearview mirror last week, the White House and Democrats in Congress started turning their attention to infrastructure.

Yes, folks, we might finally be able to have “infrastructure week” for real.

Lawmakers are already introducing bills of their own in hopes that they might ultimately make their way into the bill that the administration will back.

It is likely to focus on more than just bridges, roads and transit. And it could end up having a pretty big effect on this economy.

Candidate Joe Biden pitched a $2 trillion package to revamp American infrastructure. And now that he’s President Joe Biden?

“I think the Biden administration is looking at it very holistically when they say infrastructure,” said Emily Feenstra, who manages government relations and infrastructure initiatives for the American Society of Civil Engineers. “It’s, of course, things like roads and bridges. But it’s also things like drinking water, wastewater, broadband, school facilities.”

But when so many things fall under infrastructure and you try to put them in one package, that’s where the politics comes in.

“Once you’re starting to spend, you know, a trillion or $2 trillion on infrastructure, very quickly, every senator, every representative, every committee starts to pick winners and losers,” said Mario Loyola, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Bringing something back home to their districts lets members of Congress show where the money is going, according to Jeff Davis, a senior fellow with the Eno Center for Transportation.

“Infrastructure is more of a long-term economic stimulus than a short-term economic stimulus, because capital programs like building infrastructure tend to spend out fairly slowly,” Davis said.

Especially given the Biden administration’s plans to focus on “green” solutions.

“They have made very clear that they are building climate change into every program and every initiative that they’re putting forward,” Davis said.

Seeing the results of investments like that can take years.

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