VCs see much to like in Democrats’ $1.5 trillion Moving Forward Act

Some want a more ambitious timeline and additional infrastructure spending

“The Moving Forward Act reads like a $1.5 trillion validation of our fund’s thesis — that upgrading cities and related infrastructure is key to fighting the existential threat of climate change and improving lives,” said Stonly Baptiste, co-founder and partner at venture capital fund Urban Us.

Democrats in Congress are wrestling with the twin problems of mass unemployment and a long-delayed need to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure. Now, with just 124 days until the election, the party is building a platform that supports national funding to boost employment and develop more sustainable infrastructure heavily focused on renewables.

Some venture investors have long supported aspects of the bill, but persistent gridlock made any movement on new policy unlikely — at least in the near term. The proposed legislation contains provisions that would use $1.5 trillion to overhaul the nation’s transportation infrastructure, schools, affordable housing, renewable energy capacity and postal service.

“[In] this time of strong political division in Washington, D.C., we’ll have to see what if anything can get done on this topic in the Senate. I do have some hope that as we get closer to the election, standing in the way of clean energy is going to be seen by many in the Senate as a vote-loser, and that could sway some votes to support something bipartisan,” said Rob Day, a longtime investor in sustainable technologies and a general partner at Spring Lane Capital. “But I’m not really expecting anything to come close to what’s in this House bill. So as an investor I support what they’re doing here, but I’m not yet changing any investment strategies around it.”

Baptiste said investors already support many of the initiatives under the Moving America Forward Act, but the incentives proposed under the Democratic plan could redouble those efforts.

“In general, it seems like it would incentivize private capital to further align and mobilize in the climate-change battle,” Baptiste said. “Over the last 10 years, VC capital has been increasingly invested in transit in general and there is a 20-year history in the clean energy sector.”