What Does West Virginia Need From The American Jobs Plan?
A few weeks ago president Biden released his American Jobs Plan to make the infrastructure better and get Americans back to work. The price tag for this plan is nearly 2.3 trillion dollars. While this is being negotiated in Congress to try and get this passed President Biden said he is willing to negotiate, but he’s not going to accept doing nothing to fix our infrastructure.
The White House released a state by state plan that highlights what needs to be done in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia. The fact sheets highlight how many roads and bridges need repairs, the percentage of those without broadband internet, and many other things.
In this article we are going to focus specifically on the state of West Virginia and what needs to be done in the state to make it better. When looking at the overall infrastructure it earned a D from the infrastructure report card.
According to the fact sheet, there are 1,545 bridges and more than 3,200 miles of highway in need of repairs. Since 2011, the time residents spend commuting has increased by 6.4%, and on average, drivers spend 726 dollars per year on repairs to their vehicles due to the poor conditions of the roads.
Public transportation is also discussed here. West Virginia residents are spending an extra 76.6% of their time commuting. Along with this, non-white households are 4.9 times more likely to use public transportation as their main means of commuting. 32% of the trains and other transit vehicles in West Virginia have passed their usable lifespan.
Over the past 10 years, West Virginia has experienced 11 extreme weather events, which has cost the state up to 2 billion dollars in damages. In order for West Virginia to have clean drinking water within the next 20 years, they require 1.4 billion dollars in additional funding.
Broadband is a key part of this infrastructure bill. 24% of people in West Virginia live in areas where there is no reliable internet, and 66.8% of residents live in areas where there is only one company that provides reliable internet. Reliable internet could very well be too expensive for some, as 19% of households in the state are without an internet subscription.
West Virginia is experiencing a lack of available and affordable housing, which is in part causing 83,000 renters to be rent burdened, meaning that more than 30% of their paycheck is going towards paying rent. An average low-income family in the state is spending 10–12% of their paycheck on electricity costs.
Childcare is another part of the American Jobs Plan. In West Virginia, 64% of residents live in areas where childcare is not available to them. There is an estimated 265 million-dollar gap between the money schools have to make necessary upgrades and repairs and the amount of money that is actually required to make those repairs.
Manufacturing accounts for 10% of the total output in West Virginia, employing 48,000 workers. This is equal to about 6.5% of the state’s workforce. In 2019, 10,078 residents were employed in the field of clean energy. West Virginia is home to more than 140,000 veterans, 7.2% of them being women and 51% of them being over the age of 65.
To see what is exactly in the bill and how much money is in each section, listen to this episode of Blind Boys Politics.