Peters: Human infrastructure just as important as physical


GRAND RAPIDS Mich. (WOOD) — U.S. Sen. Gary Peters was in Grand Rapids Friday to tout his efforts to secure $500 million in federal funding to help prevent damage from storms.

The money will pay to improve infrastructure around rivers and other areas. Peters said such an investment might have mitigated damage from the historic 2013 flood in downtown Grand Rapids.

Peters’ appropriation was included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed this summer in the Senate and last week in the House. The president will sign that bill Monday. 

There is another bill — perhaps even more controversial for some Democrats — that is still being considered. It’s the Build Back Better plan, which includes a number of social spending measures.

“I think the way to look at these bills is one is physical infrastructure and one is human infrastructure, which is every bit as important, particularly in the 21st century,” Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, explained the difference in the two plans. “When you think about the bipartisan bill, that’s roads and bridges and things physical, but the Build Back Better also goes beyond that. Although elements of that in the legislation particularly dealing with climate change, but it’s also about human infrastructure, making sure our children get the education that’s so vital to them in a highly competitive world.”

Universal preschool would be one step provided in the Build Back Better plan, Peters says. He added that reducing the cost of child care could not only help families maintain more of their income but could also make it possible for more people to return to work at a time when they are desperately needed. The senator also said skilled job training proposed in the bill could also help bolster the workforce.

Build Back Better is still awaiting a vote in the House and it is not clear there are enough representatives on board to pass. If it moves to the Senate, depending on what it ultimately includes, it could face opposition from at least two Democratic senators.

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