Our Weekend Watch takes a look at President Biden’s federal infrastructure plan.

Most people think of infrastructure as repairing, improving or building new roads. Biden’s proposal takes a different look at what “infrastructure” means: It emphasizes money for public transit, cutting pollution and helping modernize existing urban neighborhoods vs providing incentives for suburban sprawl.

Biden’s plan stands in stark contrast to the 2019 infrastructure plan JB Pritzker got approved. While roads and bridges make up only a small share of Biden’s plan, it is more than half of Pritzker’s plan. And while that plan has already been approved, many advocates and policy experts are keeping a close eye on how Biden’s plans will affect Illinois going forward. How much more money will Illinois put in for things like “mobility” and “fairness” of underserved communities (mass transit, bike lanes, pedestrian walkways) over just building more roads.

This will play out for real when and if Biden’s plan passes. State governments determine how much of this federal money will be spent, whether it’s paying for new “L” lines in Chicago, building bike paths in the suburbs or adding Amtrak services downstate.

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