SAN DIEGO – Thousands of jobs in infrastructure — like clean energy and roads — could come to California and San Diego thanks to a $1 trillion package signed Monday by President Joe Biden.
The hard-fought, bipartisan package, inked into law by Biden on the White House lawn, makes major financial commitments into broadband internet, the power grid, airports and environmental cleanup efforts, among others areas. Its largest area of spending is in road and bridges where new spending over the next five years is expected to be $110 billion.
“I’m really excited about the expansion of broadband to really close the digital divide in this region, really looking at modernizing the transportation system here in the region,” said Jason Anderson, president and CEO of Cleantech San Diego.
Anderson predicts the bill will significantly add to the existing 44,000 clean energy jobs in San Diego.
“It’s construction jobs, it’s lineman jobs, but it’s also technology, development, marketing jobs,” Anderson said. “These aren’t just low-paying jobs. They are not just middle-class jobs. Infrastructure investments will create jobs at all levels.”
Speaking about the bill Monday, Biden applauded Democrats and Republicans for coming together in a bid to deliver “real results for real people.”
“For too long, we’ve talked about having the best economy in the world,” Biden said. “We’ve talked about asserting American leadership around the world with the best and the safest roads, railroads, ports, airports. Here in Washington, we’ve heard countless speeches and promises and white papers from experts. But today, we’re finally getting this done.”
Rep. Sara Jacobs, a Democrat who represents San Diego, was in attendance during Monday’s ceremony.
In an emailed statement, Jacobs said she was “honored” to represent San Diego at the White House for a bill she says will “create good jobs, connect our communities, strengthen our energy grid, and help us combat climate change.”
“We have big infrastructure needs in San Diego, from broadband to transportation to wildfire prevention, but the good news is that this bill provides new funding to meet these needs,” Jacobs said. “Now it’s time to make sure that San Diego gets our share of the funding and I look forward to working with our state and local partners to get that done.”
California is expected to get $25 billion for highways, $4.2 billion for bridge repairs and more than $9 billion for public transportation over five years and millions more for water supply, wildfire coverage and airports. It is not yet clear how many jobs will be created locally, but there is optimism that San Diego will be a leader in infrastructure development.
Industry experts say not only will the funds impact the local economy but also the environment.
“Dollars that will be made available specifically to upgrade the power grid, help to finance the installation of electric vehicle charging stations and fund incentives for electric school buses and other EV areas,” Anderson said.
He adds the upgrades could come in handy during threats of wildfires — ensuring there’s clean and reliable energy distribution in emergencies.