BIDEN'S $2TN INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN FAVORS PUBLIC TRANSIT OVER CARS. WHAT ARE ITS CHANCES?

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5 april 2021

America Has Long Favored Cars Over Trains and Buses. Can Biden Change That?

* President Biden has proposed spending $165 billion to encourage the use of mass transit and rail.

* The president’s infrastructure plan tries to break from the past by shifting spending away from new roads and toward public transit. It won’t be easy.

By Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, The New York Times, Updated April 5, 2021, 9:40 a.m. ET

If America is dominated by car culture and the call of the open road, there is a big reason for that: Over the past 65 years, the United States has spent nearly $10 trillion in public funds on highways and roads, and just a quarter of that on subways, buses and passenger rail.

But President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, unveiled this week, represents one of the most ambitious efforts yet to challenge the centrality of the automobile in American life, by proposing to tilt federal spending far more toward public transportation and coax more people out of their cars. Experts say that transformation is necessary to tackle climate change, but could prove extremely difficult in practice.

As part of his plan, Mr. Biden wants to spend $85 billion over eight years to help cities modernize and expand their mass transit systems, in effect doubling federal spending on public transportation each year. There’s also $80 billion to upgrade and extend intercity rail networks such as Amtrak. That would be one of the largest investments in passenger trains in decades.

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