President’s American Jobs Plan is Critical to Local Economic Recovery


  • Irma Esparza Diggs
April 1, 2021 - (7 min read)

Yesterday, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, President Biden announced the American Jobs Plan to rebuild our economy and create good-paying jobs for workers in America’s cities, towns and villages through investments in infrastructure and workforce development.

The American Jobs Plan is the first of two recovery packages, with a second announcement expected in mid-April, focused on additional recovery priorities, including but not limited to: helping families with challenges such as health care costs, childcare, paid leave, and education.

In response to the President’s announcement, NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence Anthony said:

“Cities, towns and villages of all sizes, urban and rural, applaud President Biden for putting forward a significant plan to jumpstart a post-COVID economic recovery with investments in community infrastructure and the people who will build it. Our country needs good jobs that rebuild sustainable, equitable, and innovative infrastructure to connect and serve our residents. We cannot be shy as a country about investing in our people and in our communities to build a better quality of life in every place we call ‘home.’

 “Local leaders are ready to rebuild and deliver far more than the bare minimum on infrastructure. Fueling our economic growth requires innovation and bold planning. This includes bridging the digital divide to deliver reliable internet access to American households and businesses and investing in essential workforce development and training programs to create pathways to employment for local workers. As debate in Washington begins, NLC and its members are eager to discuss the initiatives that can deliver for cities, towns and villages across the country.”

Joining President Biden, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said:

“Pittsburgh is pleased to host President Biden today. We stand with the President and his vision of building America from the ground up. Investment in infrastructure is an investment in the American people, a demonstration of our ingenuity, and our ability to solve big problems. There is no better place to show how America can lead by regenerating our economy, while rebuilding our communities and addressing the climate challenge by making investments in places like Pittsburgh and the Ohio Valley.”

Local Priorities for Recovery

Earlier this week, NLC sent a letter to President Biden and Congressional leaders outlining local government priorities for a bipartisan recovery package that invests in the infrastructure, workforce and economic rebuilding our nation needs. NLC outlined seven key goals for Congress and the Administration to consider as they work together with cities, towns and villages to advance this critical legislation:

  • Rebuild Transportation Connectivity
  • Support Water Infrastructure 
  • Support Broadband Access for All Communities
  • Build Community Resilience
  • Enhance Parks, Neighborhoods and Housing 
  • Invest in Workforce and Skills Development 
  • Update Local Infrastructure Financing Tools

American Jobs Plan Highlights

The American Jobs Plan hits many of these local government priorities for recovery, as well as additional areas such as school/childcare facilities and small business support. Here are some key highlights by category:

Transportation$115 billion for bridges, highways and roads.
$20 billion for roadway safety.
$85 billion to modernize existing transit and for expansion.
$174 billion for domestic investments in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing, including tax incentives and grants for state and local government and the private sector in support of the installation of 500,000 new electric vehicle charging stations by 2030.
$20 billion for a new equity program that provides transportation accessibility in disadvantaged areas.
$25 billion in dedicated funds to support large and complex projects with regional and national economic benefits.
$50 billion for infrastructure resilience including rail, roads and other transportation assets.  
Rail$80 billion for Amtrak and other passenger and freight rail to improve the rail network.  
Airports$25 billion in airport improvements.
Ports and Waterways$17 billion for inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry, and ferries, including a “Healthy Ports” program to mitigate the cumulative impacts of air pollution on communities near ports.
Water$111 billion to ensure clean, safe drinking water and upgrade and modernize wastewater and stormwater systems, including:
$45 billion to eliminate all lead pipes and services lines through grants and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund;
$10 billion to monitor and remediate PFAS contamination in drinking water and to invest in rural small water systems and household well and wastewater systems, including drainage fields; and
$56 billion in grants and low-cost flexible loans to states, Tribes, territories and disadvantaged communities across the country.
Broadband  $100 billion for affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband infrastructure.
Build broadband infrastructure to reach 100% of the population.
Remove barriers to municipal broadband and prioritize support for networks owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, nonprofits, and electric cooperatives.
Promote price transparency among broadband providers and work towards affordability for all households. 
Climate and Energy   $50 billion to improve infrastructure resilience by targeting investments in those communities most vulnerable physically and financially to climate-driven disasters and to build back above existing codes and standards, including through FEMA’s Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program and HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program among others.
$100 billion to build a more resilient electric transmission system, modernize power generation and promote clean electricity, including:
Establish an Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard,
Support for clean energy block grants for state, local and tribal governments;
$10 billion to mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers through a new Civilian Climate Corps to conserve public lands and waters, bolster community resilience and advance environmental justice.
Housing and Community Development  $213 billion to build and rehabilitate affordable housing for low- and middle-income residents.
New competitive grants to incentivize ending local prohibitions on multi-family housing (duplex and fourplex).
$40 billion for public housing maintenance, repair, and capital improvements.
$5 billion to remediate and redevelop brownfield and superfund sites.
Workforce Development$100 billion in workforce development programming to ensure workers have the skills to succeed, including:
$40 billion in a new Dislocated Worker Program and sector-based training including wrap-around services, income supports, counseling and case-management;
$12 billion in targeted workforce development programming for underserved communities and communities hit hard by a transforming economy; and
$48 billion to build the capacity of the existing workforce development system and worker protection systems.
School/Early Learning Facilities$100 billion to upgrade and build new public schools through $50 billion in direct grants and an additional $50 billion through leveraged bonds.
$12 billion to address physical and technological infrastructure needs at community colleges and to identify strategies to address access to community colleges in education deserts.
$25 billion to upgrade child care facilities and increase the supply of child care in areas that need it most.
Main Street and Small Business Support$31 billion to create a national network of small business incubators and innovation hubs that give small businesses access to credit, venture capital, and R&D dollars.
$20 billion Community Revitalization Fund to support at least ten regional innovation hubs to link urban and rural economies, close gaps in racial equity, and create new businesses in distressed regions.

Join NLC Call to Hear from the White House

We invite local elected leaders to join NLC this Friday at 1:30 pm (eastern) for our next national briefing call with the White House to discuss the new American Jobs Plan, as well as the continued implementation of the American Rescue Plan.

NLC wants to keep you informed on the latest implementation details and funding on the rescue plan, as well as the significant action by the President on infrastructure and jobs which NLC has been a consistent champion on. Join us weekly to receive updates and the latest guidance available! 

About the Author

Irma Esparza Diggs

About the Author

Irma Esparza Diggs is the Senior Executive and Director, Federal Advocacy at the National League of Cities.