War on the suburbs, infrastructure style

If Republicans have signed off on the alleged infrastructure bill that is to be formulated as a “compromise” lopping off the ginormous tax and spending package Democrats intend to push through on their own, we should take a closer look at its contents. According to the March 31 White House Fact Sheet:

The President’s plan invests $213 billion to produce, preserve, and retrofit more than two million affordable and sustainable places to live. It pairs this investment with an innovative new approach to eliminate state and local exclusionary zoning laws, which drive up the cost of construction and keep families from moving to neighborhoods with more opportunities for them and their kids. The President’s plan will help address the growing cost of rent and create jobs that pay prevailing wages, including through project labor agreements with a free and fair choice to join a union and bargain collectively.

President Biden is calling on Congress to:

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• Eliminate exclusionary zoning and harmful land use policies. For decades, exclusionary zoning laws – like minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking requirements, and prohibitions on multifamily housing – have inflated housing and construction costs and locked families out of areas with more opportunities. President Biden is calling on Congress to enact an innovative, new competitive grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take concrete steps to eliminate such needless barriers to producing affordable housing.

USA Today covered this proposal in a long editorial in the form of a news story here in April. Betsy McCaughey criticized it in a New York Post column last month.

It is not apparent to me whether this proposal is a part of the so-called compromise which is described as a “framework” with respect to which “some of the details remain to be ironed out,” according to the Wall Street Journal summary. This detail needs to be ironed right out of the bill.

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