Higher costs, supply issues, and labor shortages are negatively affecting the impact of President Joe Biden’s biggest accomplishment.
President Biden signed the infrastructure law last November. It represented the largest federal investment in infrastructure in over a decade, aiming to repair roads and bridges, upgrade the electrical grid, and expand internet access across the country. Passing the law was seen as a key political victory for a floundering Biden and stagnant Democrats in Congress.
However, its goals are hampered by ongoing inflation and supply chain issues. According to the Wall Street Journal, the higher prices may affect government decisions about how to spend the new federal money. If prices continue to rise, officials may prefer projects with shorter timelines or projects that rely less on volatile commodities such as steel. They may still select projects based on need, which will take longer and take up more of the law’s fund than initially expected.
“There’s this hidden effect of inflation, which is that it should push you to choose projects that have less risk of delay and there’s more certainty of cost,” said Leah Brooks, an economist at George Washington University. “Those are probably smaller projects.”