The president paid a visit to the Buckeye State to promote the environmental restoration of the Great Lakes and its economic benefits.
President Biden traveled to Lorain, Ohio on Thursday to tout the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, predicting that the $1.2 trillion investment will spark the beginning of an American manufacturing renewal.
While speaking at the city’s historic Shipyards, Biden said that $1 billion in funding from the law will go toward restoring coastline and other areas around the Great Lakes, which provide drinking water to the region. While that money will help the environment, it also will provide an economic boost to the region, Biden said.
“Every dollar we spend cleaning up the Great Lakes generates between $3 and $4 of economic growth – that’s a fact,” Biden said. “The Great Lakes undergird work, life, and transportation for millions of people… We’re investing like never, ever in history.”
Biden claimed that this effort was reflective of a changing national tune on infrastructure. For much of the 20th century, the United States led the world on infrastructure because it invested in itself, Biden said. That “allowed commerce to function smoothly and move swiftly,” Biden said.
“Somewhere along the way, we took our eye off the ball,” he added.
America’s infrastructure now ranks 13th worldwide. “That’s about to change,” Biden said.
“For generations,” the president continued, “the industries that built and defined America: steel, cars, tires, paint – all of them grew and thrived right here in Ohio… Making it in America is what this region was built on… this region-built America – it’s not hyperbole, I’m not just saying that because I’m here – it’s a fact. The Midwest built America – and we’re doing it again.”
Biden specifically noted that the implementation of the infrastructure law will include following Buy America preferences that require taxpayer money spent on infrastructure projects to be reinvested back into American workers and communities instead of being sent overseas.
“As we rebuild America, we’re buying American and betting on American workers,” Biden said. “This ‘Buy America’ law makes the most significant investment in roads and bridges and highways in nearly 70 years… fixing as many as 1,300 bridges and 5,000 miles of road here in Ohio that are in poor condition.”
Biden remains keen to avoid the mistakes of the past. “American workers building these roads and bridges with American-made steel is how we’re going to do it,” he said.
“Manufacturing and unions built the middle class,” Biden continued. “We’re bringing manufacturing jobs back, taking supply chains back home from abroad so we have a better job to lower prices and now, instead of losing manufacturing jobs… we have added 375,000 manufacturing jobs in one year. In 2021, we saw the highest increase in union manufacturing jobs in 30 years… We’re seeing a drumbeat of good paying jobs unlike anything we’ve seen in our history.”
Biden also pointed to the commitments of several big-name companies to invest in the United States, including Ford and General Motors investing in new Michigan and Ohio plants. He also touted Union Pacific’s purchase of battery powered locomotives and a new semiconductor factory coming to Columbus.
When told the projected salary of workers at the facility would average around $135,000, the President mused, “not bad”.
“What you’ve done here in Lorain shows what’s possible,” Biden added.
Quoting the late Lorain native Toni Morrison, the president concluded, “’We’ve got more yesterdays than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.’ Places like Lorain have a lot of proud yesterdays. Now, you’re going to have some brighter tomorrows, because of all of you.”