With Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief bill coming into its final weeks, Democrats are already looking toward an infrastructure plan that could dwarf the current stimulus in both size and challenges.

Goldman Sachs analysts say the bill could be as large as $4 trillion, with a sizeable boost to short and long-term economic prospects, Forbes reports. The size estimates are based on analysis of what it would take to bring the U.S.’s aging infrastructure up to standard, with a lower limit of $2 trillion, roughly the same size as the COVID-19 stimulus.

The American Society of Civil Engineers rates U.S. infrastructure as a D+, estimating that at least $2 trillion is needed to bridge the gap over the next decade, The New York Times reports.

“We are so far behind the curve,” Biden said in a December meeting with labor leaders. “We rank something like 38th in the world in terms of our infrastructure—everything from canals to highways to airports.”

Biden's administration has stressed its commitment to NATO
Joe Biden is the 46th President of the United States of America. AFP / SAUL LOEB

The bill could pay big dividends: Texas’ fatalities during the recent winter storms highlighted the need for durable infrastructure, and Goldman Sachs’ analysts estimate the short-term GDP growth alone could be between 2% and 9%.

That comes, however, with proportionally larger costs and challenges.

It would be difficult to draft a bill that large without raising taxes, which Republicans staunchly oppose. The COVID-19 stimulus, a significantly more popular idea among conservatives, is already being forced to pass through budget reconciliation due to a complete lack of Republican support.

Conservative leadership like Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has already preemptively spoken out against large infrastructure expenditures.

“This so-called infrastructure bill would siphon billions in funding from actual infrastructure to funnel into climate change policies,” he said of a $1.5 trillion bill House Democrats passed last summer that died to Republican opposition in the Senate.

Still, progressive and labor activists are hopeful that Biden will have more luck than Obama or Trump in passing the complex proposal.

“He was born a blue-collar baby and he’s going to get buried a blue-collar baby,” Richard Trumka, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O union collaborative, told The New York Times. Infrastructure could be “a racial justice bill, a COVID-19 safety bill and the most important climate bill of all time, all in one.”

According to the Associated Press, Biden is expected to announce his plan later on in March. Goldman Sachs says the complexity and opposition mean its passage or lack thereof could be as early as July or as late as fall.