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Like much of Joe Biden’s presidency to date, the $2.3-trillion infrastructure plan he laid out last week is remarkably ambitious. Rightly so. America’s economic future is at stake. The country needs a bold new commitment to public investment.

The US is visibly falling behind. Any recent traveller to Beijing or Shanghai is struck by how shabby American airports and city grids look in comparison. And this isn’t just about appearances. China is proving that modern infrastructure is an essential component of industrial competitiveness and economic growth. Unless something changes, Washington’s neglect of roads, bridges and other connective tissue, plus failure to invest in the infrastructure of the future — from digital access to clean power grids — will condemn the US to relative economic decline...

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