President Joe Biden signs the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 Real estate groups are praising the proposal for its focus on addressing the nation’s dire housing shortage.
The American Jobs Plan proposes a massive overhaul of the systems and facilities that make the country tick, including fixing and upgrading highways, bridges, ports, airports and public transit; eliminating lead pipes in drinking water systems, renewing the electric grid, and providing high-speed broadband to all Americans; building and retrofitting more than two million homes and commercial buildings and upgrading schools, childcare facilities, veterans hospitals and federal buildings; and investing in manufacturing, U.S. supply chains, research and development and job training.
"Remediate and redevelop idle real property, and spur the buildout of critical physical, social, and civic infrastructure in distressed and disadvantaged communities. In thousands of rural and urban communities around the country, hundreds of thousands of former industrial and energy sites are now idle – sources of blight and pollution. Through a $5 billion investment in the remediation and redevelopment of these Brownfield and Superfund sites, as well as related economic and workforce development, President Biden’s plan will turn this idle real property into new hubs of economic growth and job creation. But it’s not enough to redevelop old infrastructure. President Biden’s plan also will bring these communities new critical physical, social, and civic infrastructure. This means investing in the Economic Development Agency’s Public Works program (while lifting the cap of $3 million on projects) and in “Main Street” revitalization efforts through HUD and USDA. President Biden’s plan also will spur targeted sustainable, economic development efforts through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER grant program, Department of Energy retooling grants for idled factories (through the Section 132 program), and dedicated funding to support community-driven environmental justice efforts – such as capacity and project grants to address legacy pollution and the cumulative impacts experienced by frontline and fenceline communities."
“After decades of disinvestment, our roads, bridges, and water systems are crumbling,” the White House said in a fact sheet about the plan. “Our electric grid is vulnerable to catastrophic outages. Too many lack access to affordable, high-speed Internet and to quality housing.
“The past year has led to job losses and threatened economic security, eroding more than 30 years of progress in women’s labor force participation,” the fact sheet states. “It has unmasked the fragility of our caregiving infrastructure. And, our nation is falling behind its biggest competitors on research and development (R&D), manufacturing, and training. It has never been more important for us to invest in strengthening our infrastructure and competitiveness, and in creating the good-paying, union jobs of the future.”
The White House highlighted the “severe shortage of affordable housing options” in the U.S. Biden’s plan would invest $213 billion to produce, maintain and retrofit more than two million affordable and energy efficient and electrified housing units.
“Millions of families pay more than half their income on rent, and home energy costs are a significant concern for American renters as well,” the fact sheet said. “And, across the country, people are struggling to purchase their first home.”
Biden’s plan calls for Congress to pass the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA), which offers $20 billion in tax credits over the next five years for building and rehabbing more than 500,000 homes for low- and middle-income homebuyers.
The plan would also eliminate exclusionary zoning laws such as minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking requirements, and prohibitions on multifamily housing that the Biden administration contends have “inflated housing and construction costs” and prevented families from moving to higher-opportunity areas.
“President Biden is calling on Congress to enact an innovative, new competitive grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take concrete steps to eliminate such needless barriers to producing affordable housing,” the fact sheet said.
The plan also calls for a $40 billion investment to improve public housing infrastructure. “This funding will address critical life-safety concerns, mitigate imminent hazards to residents, and undertake energy efficiency measures which will significantly reduce ongoing operating expenses,” the White House said. “These improvements will disproportionately benefit women, people of color, and people with disabilities.”
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Build, preserve, and retrofit more than two million homes and commercial buildings to address the affordable housing crisis:
There is a severe shortage of affordable housing options in America. Millions of families pay more than half their income on rent, and home energy costs are a significant concern for American renters as well. And, across the country, people are struggling to purchase their first home.
The President’s plan invests $213 billion to produce, preserve, and retrofit more than two million affordable and sustainable places to live. It pairs this investment with an innovative new approach to eliminate state and local exclusionary zoning laws, which drive up the cost of construction and keep families from moving to neighborhoods with more opportunities for them and their kids. The President’s plan will help address the growing cost of rent and create jobs that pay prevailing wages, including through project labor agreements with a free and fair choice to join a union and bargain collectively.
President Biden is calling on Congress to:
Produce, preserve, and retrofit more than a million affordable, resilient, accessible, energy efficient, and electrified housing units. Through targeted tax credits, formula funding, grants, and project-based rental assistance, President Biden’s plan will extend affordable housing rental opportunities to underserved communities nationwide, including rural and tribal areas.
Build and rehabilitate more than 500,000 homes for low- and middle-income homebuyers. President Biden is calling on Congress to take immediate steps to spur the construction and rehabilitation of homes for underserved communities. Specifically, he is calling on Congress to pass the innovative, bipartisan Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA). Offering $20 billion worth of NHIA tax credits over the next five years will result in approximately 500,000 homes built or rehabilitated, creating a pathway for more families to buy a home and start building wealth.
Eliminate exclusionary zoning and harmful land use policies. For decades, exclusionary zoning laws – like minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking requirements, and prohibitions on multifamily housing – have inflated housing and construction costs and locked families out of areas with more opportunities. President Biden is calling on Congress to enact an innovative, new competitive grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take concrete steps to eliminate such needless barriers to producing affordable housing.
Address longstanding public housing capital needs. Years of disinvestment have left our public housing in disrepair. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $40 billion to improve the infrastructure of the public housing system in America. This funding will address critical life-safety concerns, mitigate imminent hazards to residents, and undertake energy efficiency measures which will significantly reduce ongoing operating expenses. These improvements will disproportionately benefit women, people of color, and people with disabilities.
Put union building trade workers to work upgrading homes and businesses to save families money. President Biden’s plan will upgrade homes through block grant programs, the Weatherization Assistance Program, and by extending and expanding home and commercial efficiency tax credits. President Biden’s plan also will establish a $27 billion Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator to mobilize private investment into distributed energy resources; retrofits of residential, commercial and municipal buildings; and clean transportation. These investments have a particular focus on disadvantaged communities that have not yet benefited from clean energy investments.
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