President Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan lays out his vision of better transit, broadband and more, but it doesn't yet specify which projects could get funded.
That's where members of Congress come in.
Though the president's proposal has broad support among Democrats, Congress and the White House still have many details to work out as they craft the final bill.
Massachusetts' all-Democratic delegation is already lobbying to put their favorite projects on the list.
On a recent visit to a Medford elementary school, Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark said her infrastructure goals include money for child-care centers to outfit facilities with classroom dividers, cleaning equipment, and other items to help deal with the pandemic.
"All the sort of bricks-and-mortar child-care needs that, often, a child-care center simply can't afford, unless there is a hefty tuition increase for parents," she said.
There is no guarantee Clark will secure the federal aid, but she is one of the most powerful people in Congress. And Medford's mayor credited her with delivering millions in local COVID-19 relief money in previous packages.
The infrastructure package could be another chance for influential lawmakers to flex some muscle.
Rep. Richie Neal, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, said he is better positioned to serve his constituents than a junior congressman.
....As Neal's committee gets to work, he is looking out for his own priorities: "Bridges across Western and Central Massachusetts. Dams in Springfield, all the way to Northampton. A big issue for me, certainly, is going to be expanding Amtrak and East-West rail service. I think that is an opportunity that would be transformative in nature, and that opportunity might not come again, if we were not to take advantage of this."
…Rep. Ayanna Pressley said a comprehensive federal package should also fund things that aren't conventionally viewed as infrastructure, though many Republicans and some Democrats prefer a narrower approach. Pressley is pushing to include paid sick leave, arguing the pandemic has shown keeping people home when they are ill contributes to a healthier, more productive workforce.
"Paid leave is a matter of public health," she said. "It's necessary for our economic recovery. And I also see it as a racial, gender and economic justice issue. I'm going to keep fighting for this package to be as inclusive, robust as possible."
Original story here.