President Joe Biden on Wednesday is returning to Pittsburgh, where he kicked off his run for the presidency in 2019, to take the wraps off his next big legislative priority -- a massive plan to modernize US infrastructure.
The infrastructure package, which will cost $2 trillion over eight years, includes money for a wide range of projects, from improving and maintaining roads, bridges and waterways to spending $100 billion over the next eight years to deploy broadband throughout rural America, according to the White House on Wednesday. Biden's plan would also help subsidize the cost of broadband for low-income individuals in an effort to make broadband more affordable.
"Broadband internet is the new electricity," the White House said. "It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected."
The White House fact sheet detailing aspects of the plan highlights the fact that more than 30 million Americans live in areas without any access to broadband. And in urban and suburban markets where broadband is available, it's often too expensive. This reality hits minority families harder than white families, creating digital inequities. The coronavirus pandemic, which led to shutdowns across the country, made the issues even more apparent, especially for students who struggled to connect to the internet for distance learning.