Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Includes Making ‘Diverse’ Neighborhoods Across America Through Zoning Laws
Penny Starr, Breitbart, April 11, 2021
The focus of President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill is allegedly to address aging infrastructure across the country, but the massive bill covers a vast amount of other spending, including money for “diversifying” neighborhoods.
This portion of Biden’s American Jobs Plan would change zoning laws to end single family home neighborhoods and allow for multiple unit “affordable” or low-income rental housing.
According to the White House Fact Sheet, the housing effort is “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”:
“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,” the fact sheet states. “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.”
In contrast to former President Donald Trump’s Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Opportunity Zones program that partnered the federal government with private sector investors to create less rental housing and increase home ownership, Biden’s plan uses tax breaks for state and local governments, the Fact Sheet states:
“[Biden] is calling on Congress to pass the innovative, bipartisan Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA). Offering $20 billion worth of NHIA tax credits over the next five years will result in approximately 500,000 homes built or rehabilitated, creating a pathway for more families to buy a home and start building wealth.”
Biden’s plan even designates which workers will benefit from this housing project — “put union building trade workers to work upgrading homes and businesses to save families money,” the Fact Sheet states.
Forbes magazine reported on Biden’s plan, which includes impacting neighborhoods that want to retain single family housing, which critics call NIMBY — Not in My Backyard — homeowners.
“Any proposal that works to reduce restrictive zoning and provides municipalities incentives to embrace affordable housing is a positive,” Dudley Benoit, executive vice president of Alliant Capital, an affordable housing-focused tax credit syndication firm, said in the Forbes report. “NIMBYism and restrictive zoning drive up the cost of affordable housing by limiting where affordable housing can be built.”
“This also leads to excluding low-income renters from communities that may have better resources [like schools],” Benoit says. “It remains to be seen if locales that have fought for decades to prevent affordable housing can be incentivized to change their ways, but it is worth a try and could have a substantial impact if successful.”