Senate Democrats Introduce $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

Senate Democrats on Jan. 24 introduced a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, laying down a marker for President Donald Trump, who pledged to introduce a massive infrastructure package during his first 100 days in office.

The plan, which is still just a political document and not in legislative form yet, includes $210 billion to repair crumbling roads and bridges, $100 billion for energy infrastructure, and reportedly would create 15 million jobs all through direct federal spending. It also includes $200 billion for “a new Vital Infrastructure Projects program that will direct major federal investments to the most critical national projects” and $20 billion in funding to “address critical infrastructure backlogs on Public Lands and in Indian country.”

Democrats have said they would pay for the infrastructure plan by closing tax loopholes, although they have not specified which ones.

NATSO continues to evaluate the proposal, but is encouraged by the absence of tax credits for private investors.

President Donald Trump campaigned on the promise of a $1 trillion infrastructure package over 10 years that he said would largely be paid for through private investment and tax credits, which lead to revenue schemes that NATSO opposes such as tolling or rest area commercialization. Democrats have not agreed to raising the motor fuels tax. which NATSO has long-supported as the most efficient method of increasing infrastructure revenues.

The Jan. 24 proposal, which is backed by Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, Tom Carper, Sherrod Brown, Bernie Sanders, Bill Nelson, Maria Cantwell, and Ron Wyden, focuses on repairing existing roads rather than new road construction, and is largely viewed as a signal to President Trump that the Democrats are willing to work with him on an infrastructure package.

The Senators disagree with President Trump, however, on how it should be paid for.

In the House, lawmakers have scheduled a hearing to examine the challenges facing the nation’s infrastructure and what is needed to “build a 21st Century infrastructure for America.”

Among those testifying are executives from FedEx, Cargill, BMW and construction manufacturer Vermeer, as Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said that he is specifically interested in hearing from end-users of the system.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pushing back against private investment in favor of direct federal spending. Democrats recently called for more direct spending on infrastructure saying that a program of tax credits won’t get the job done. Rural Republicans expressed concern that private investment would focus on financial returns for the investors rather than public need, especially in poor and rural areas.

A new poll conducted for Politico and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that an overwhelming majority of the public supports new infrastructure provided it is paid for by direct federal spending.

via Business Feeds

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