Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement ahead of the infrastructure investments President Biden plans to push for later this afternoon, the first of a two-part package of investments intended to help the nation build back better.

“More than a year into a pandemic that has killed more than 550,000 Americans and left millions unemployed, the work we still have to do to fulfill our promise as a nation is clearer than ever. As President Biden understands, this work—creating jobs, addressing inequality, tackling climate change, building the infrastructure we need—requires us to make once-in-a-century investments that meet the scale of the crisis.

“We must meet the demands of the moment—both in traditional infrastructure like bridges and railways and non-traditional infrastructure like child care, elder care and educational facilities. Both types of infrastructure are critically important and there is evidence that investments in the latter may do more to create jobs and reverse recent job losses. Millions of women have left the workforce not because they do not want to work but because child and elder care responsibilities fall disproportionately on their shoulders. As we reimagine and rebuild a new American economy, it is important that we do not leave any communities behind.

“Yesterday, I looked on as Virginia concluded an agreement with the support of the Administration that will allow for the construction of a new Long Bridge—the only rail bridge connecting Virginia to Washington, DC. This $1.9 billion project is estimated to bring about $6 billion annually in benefits to the region by 2040 —illustrating the point that for every dollar invested wisely in infrastructure more economic value is generated in return. There are tens of thousands of these types of infrastructure projects across the nation and getting to work on them will increase interconnectivity and ease commutes, as well as create jobs and revenue. This is good for both American workers and American businesses. It is also good for the nation as it will make us more competitive around the world and reduce the impact of climate change.

“I applaud President Biden for his ‘Build Back Better’ vision; the once-in-a-century investments he is committed to making in infrastructure and other areas will not take our nation back to where it was before the pandemic, they will take it beyond there—well beyond there. That is what great leaders do.”