Biden heads to Wisconsin to tout $5 billion transportation investment

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will announce a $5 billion investment in transportation projects around the country during a visit Thursday to the election battleground state of Wisconsin, part of a push to promote the Democratic president’s economic policies.

The visit will highlight a $1 billion investment to replace the Blatnik Bridge in Superior, which connects Wisconsin and Minnesota and is vital to the region’s community including its small business owners, the White House said.

The Biden administration is working to overcome Americans’ anxiety over high inflation, which has weighed on Biden’s popularity as he seeks re-election on Nov. 5.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was headed to Chicago and Milwaukee on Thursday and Friday as part of a stepped-up domestic travel schedule to sell Americans on the benefits of Biden’s policies.

U.S. consumer sentiment did improve in January, hitting the highest level in 2-1/2 years amid growing optimism over the outlook for inflation and household incomes, and suggesting Americans were finally warming up to the economy’s resilience.

In Wisconsin, Biden will meet with a local small business owner whose operation will benefit from rebuilding the deteriorating bridge, which was due to close by 2030, the White House said.

The $5 billion investment will support 37 projects overall, including the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River between Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, the I-376 corridor of Pittsburgh, the Cross Bronx Expressway in New York and part of a highway through the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, the White House said.

The signature infrastructure law is part of Biden’s “investing in America” agenda that the White House credits with a surge in clean energy and manufacturing and well-paying jobs.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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