The Biden White House is amplifying the push for its $2.3 trillion infrastructure package with the release of state-by-state breakdowns that show the dire shape of roads, bridges, the power grid and housing affordability.
The figures in the state summaries paint a decidedly bleak outlook for the world’s largest economy after years of repairs being deferred and delayed. They suggest that too much infrastructure is unsafe for vehicles at any speed, while highlighting the costs of extreme weather events that have become more frequent with climate change as well as dead spots for broadband and a dearth of child care options.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet Monday afternoon with Republican and Democratic lawmakers and can use the state summaries to show that his plan would help meet the needs of their constituents.
Most states received a letter grade on their infrastructure. West Virginia earned a D. So did Biden’s home state of Delaware. The highest grade went to Utah, which notched a C-plus. The lowest grade, D-minus, went to the territory of Puerto Rico.
Florida got a C grade.
“For decades, infrastructure in Florida has suffered from a systemic lack of investment. The need for action is clear,” the fact sheet from the White House says.
The administration is banking that the data will confirm the everyday experiences of Americans as they bump over potholes, get trapped in traffic jams and wait for buses that almost never correspond to published schedules. There is already a receptive audience to the sales pitch, and the strategy is that public support can overcome any congressional misgivings.
“We don’t have a lot of work to do to persuade the American people that U.S. infrastructure needs major improvement,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday” ahead of the reports’ release. “The American people already know it.”
Republican lawmakers have been quick to reject the infrastructure proposal from Biden. They say just a fraction of the spending goes to traditional infrastructure, as $400 billion would expand Medicaid support for caregivers and substantial portions would fund electric vehicle charging stations and address the racial injustice of highways that were built in ways that destroyed Black neighborhoods.
Below is a look at the fact sheet the White House put out on Florida: