There are moments in history that define a presidency.
Think of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s reassuring yet powerful message to a nation teetering on the brink of war. Or think of Bill Clinton’s composure after our beloved state and nation suffered the worst act of domestic terrorism. These moments of tension distinguish true leaders of humanity from those who frequently falter in moments of indecision.
Of course, when you lead a nation that is seen as assertive from a global perspective, the pressure to enforce the right judgments for the benefit of its citizens increases immeasurably. Our Presidents have the burden of guiding the world’s greatest economic/military powerhouse through the thick and thin of international and diplomatic survival. Joe Biden’s new infrastructure law will determine for the general public how successful it will be not only in terms of promises but real delivery.
Last November, Biden signed legislation that was a key part of his domestic political agenda. NPR News reported that the “$1 trillion infrastructure bill” served to “channel billions [of dollars] to States and Localities” with the aim of improving the quality of many aging bridges, roads and transportation systems. His radical plan even garnered support from some conservatives. At the signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, Biden declared that “America is moving again” and promised the American people that their lives would be vastly improved.
The Infrastructure Act reportedly earmarks about $55 billion to improve impoverished communities with an inadequate or faulty water management system, including waste and storm. Biden has promised the bill will allocate $25 billion solely to “replacing faulty drinking water systems,” specifically in Flint, Michigan.
Since the region made national headlines in 2016 for having lethal levels of lead in its drinking water, the Michigan government has claimed that it has spent “more than $350 million” on Flint alone. As of 2021, Flint’s water lead levels are five times below national requirements, but residents are still reluctant to trust the city’s water. Biden hopes to end such talks by enacting his law, and perhaps also increasing the Liberal presence inside the state.
Despite these pledges and assurances, why is there still an almost tangible national skepticism?
Biden goes on to say that the law will provide needed benefits in many states, including Oklahoma.
Mark A. Eliot, an engineering professor at the University of Alabama who is working to build a more satisfactory waste system in the state, hopes Biden’s plan will improve the impoverished first. He said that “[his] The hope is that at least 50 percent of that money goes to the people who need it most, rather than to help subsidize the water bills of affluent communities.”
It turns out that extra money spent on implementations does not correlate at all with mainstream adoption when misapplied and failing to reach the biggest roots of economic ambiguity.
Biden must ensure he is doing whatever it takes to get those funds to the individuals and communities who need them most. Otherwise, his presidency, public approval, and trust will quickly come to an end.
Alex Seojoon Kim is a high school freshman living in Stillwater.
This article originally appeared in Oklahoman: Implementing the infrastructure bill will be key to the success of the Biden presidency