KANSAS CITY, Mo. — President Joe Biden gave a speech on the changes his new infrastructure bill will bring to the country Wednesday at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.
The president outlined his "Building a Better America" campaign, and remarked on the current state of infrastructure in Kansas City.
Biden thanked Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and Kansas Rep. Sharice Davids, the Vice Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, for their contribution to the bill.
"There's no stronger advocate for infrastructure investment in the United States Congress that I've ever seen," Biden said of Davids. "Your leadership was key in getting this passed. So thank you, thank you, thank you."
Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt was also thanked for his bipartisan effort in passing the bill, which he signed last month.
In his speech, Biden called union support "essential" in making the law a reality.
"Unions built the middle class, not a joke, not a political statement, it's a reality," he said.
Biden also spoke of the impact of crumbling roads and bridges across America.
According to Biden, decaying roads cost in Kansas and Missouri costs each person more than $500 each year.
Biden said one priority is to ensure Americans are paying fair gas prices. According to the president, the average price of gas in Kansas City is currently at $2.90 per gallon, 20% less than a month ago.
"We're in a situation where we've known that our infrastructure has had issues for a long, long time," Biden said. "It's going to be Infrastructure decade now, man. No more talking. Action."
According to Biden, $66 billion will be allocated to passenger and freight rails, like Amtrak, as a result of the infrastructure package. Biden said rails are not only safer, but will save millions of barrels of oil.
Biden also emphasized the benefits of the electric bus line, calling it a "win-win-win." He said that the electric buses in Kansas City save riders $2,000 per year.
"He [Cleaver] is a big reason Kansas City is adding electric buses to its fleet — zero fair, zero emissions — Congressman, great idea," Biden said.
$16 billion in the bill will help modernize ports and airports in America, according to Biden. The president described Kansas City as the fastest growing port in the midwest, citing KCI's new airport terminal.
Biden also explained how the law will replace 100% of the nation's lead pipes and service lines, bringing clean water in addition to "10s of thousands" of plumbing and pipe-fitting jobs that will earn a union wage.
Another aspect of the law Biden outlined is access to high-speed internet. Biden said roughly one in four Missourians and one in three Kansans don't have access to high-speed internet in their homes.
"In the 21st century in America, no parent should have to do what many had to do last semester, and that is sit in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant so their children could use the internet to get their homework done," he said.
Biden said the bill will combat issues created by worsening natural disasters due to climate change.
Missouri and Kansas were both in the top 10 states last year for power outages, he said.
"We're going to help rebuild this economy this time from the bottom up and the middle out," Biden said. "This bill is a blue collar blueprint for working Americans. 95% of the jobs created in the infrastructure bill don't require a college education."
Biden also stressed the need to improve education, citing that the United States ranks 34th in education worldwide. According to Biden, the bill will ensuring access to pre-K and child care. He also said that child care costs will be capped at 7% of a worker's income.
He said that there are 140,000 students in Kansas and Missouri that rely on Pell Grants to cover the cost of tuition. Biden said that the infrastructure bill will increase the cost of pell grants by $550 each year.
The president said the bill will address insulin costs, which can now cost up to $1000 each month, by guaranteeing that under the new law it will not cost more than $35 each month.
According to Biden, anyone who makes less than $400,000 each year will not experience any tax increases from the bill.
Biden also paid tribute to Bob Dole and Buck O'Neil in his speech.
"We're not going to lose anymore. The time of losing is over," Biden concluded.