Laws Biden signed as part of his investment in infrastructure and economic recovery have helped pay for interstate repair and electric buses in Wisconsin.
The state of Wisconsin has received over $4 billion in manufacturing-related investments since President Joe Biden took office in 2021, according to a fact sheet called "The Biden Economic Plan: Delivering for Wisconsin," released by the White House on Feb. 8. The investments have followed the passage of key pieces of legislation supported by Biden, including the American Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.
"These investments are increasing the productivity, competitiveness, and resilience of both Wisconsin and our nation's economy. And they're creating good-paying jobs, including union jobs and jobs that don't require a college degree," the administration said in the fact sheet.
Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law in March 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act in April 2022. Both passed through Congress over united Republican opposition.
The American Rescue Plan was designed as an economic stimulus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while the Inflation Reduction Act contains provisions to stimulate the growth of a "green" economy, including electric vehicle-related manufacturing.
The CHIPS and Science Act, enacted in August 2022, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, enacted in November 2021, passed with limited support from Republicans.
The CHIPS and Science Act contains financial incentives meant to spur growth in the domestic semiconductor industry, and the infrastructure law prioritizes construction projects meant to improve traffic corridors, especially those vital to supply chains.
Along the same timeline as these legislative successes, several companies have begun work on Wisconsin-based projects that are attracting spending from construction firms and creating new jobs.
In October 2020, a month before Biden was elected, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported that the state's economy had contracted between April and June of that year following disruptions due to the pandemic. More recent data released in May 2022 showed the state reaching record highs in gross domestic product and a record-low unemployment rate.
The White House said in its fact sheet that since Biden took office, Wisconsin had become a "more attractive place for companies around the world to invest and expand."
In May 2022, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals began construction of a 285,000-square-foot drug manufacturing plant in Verona, a suburb of Madison. The company said it estimates it will spend $250 million on construction, which it forecasts will be completed by 2024.
Two months later, paper manufacturer Georgia-Pacific broke ground on a $500 million expansion of a paper mill in Green Bay. Officials at the company said the addition to its existing facility in the city would add 100 additional jobs in the area.
Along with private investment, the state is receiving an influx of spending from the federal government aimed at improving Wisconsin's economy.
Wisconsin is already receiving billions of dollars financed by the infrastructure law for construction projects. According to the White House fact sheet, $2.9 billion has been invested so far.
The state's physical infrastructure has been in need of upgrades for years.
"Much of Wisconsin's infrastructure requires capacity or maintenance upgrades or is reaching the end of its expected lifespan," said a 2020 "report card" from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Wisconsin had been awarded $80 million to replace the Interstate 39/90/94 bridge across the Wisconsin River near Dekorra, north of Madison, financed in part by the infrastructure law. The department said the bridge is currently in a state of disrepair, which could lead to closures and "negative impacts on supply chains in the future."
The infrastructure law also provided partial funding for the city of Racine to add four electric buses to its fleet, creating the largest electrified bus fleet in the state.
In November 2021, Gov. Tony Evers announced that grants financed in part by the American Rescue Plan would help expand broadband service to over 300,000 homes and businesses in Wisconsin.
Additionally, an economic relief program known as "Badger Bounceback" received funding from the Rescue Plan and has provided assistance to over 1.4 million residents and 100,000 businesses.
Published with permission of The American Independent.com