Dems Propose $1T Infrastructure Plan 01/24 06:17
Senate Democrats say they plan to offer a proposal Tuesday to spend $1
trillion on transportation and other infrastructure projects over 10 years in
an attempt to engage President Donald Trump on an issue where they hope to find
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democrats say they plan to offer a proposal
Tuesday to spend $1 trillion on transportation and other infrastructure
projects over 10 years in an attempt to engage President Donald Trump on an
issue where they hope to find common ground.
Details of the plan provided to The Associated Press include $200 billion
for a "vital infrastructure fund" to pay for projects of national significance.
An example of the types of projects that could be eligible for financing from
the fund is the Gateway Program to repair and replace aging rail lines and
tunnels between New York and New Jersey, some of which are over 100 years old
and were damaged in Hurricane Sandy. The project, which would double the number
of trains per hour using the tunnels and help enable high-speed Amtrak service,
is estimated to cost about $20 billion.
Republican leaders, who have said previously that they're waiting for Trump
to offer his own proposal, are unlikely to embrace the Democratic plan. It's
not clear where Democrats would to get the money to pay for their proposal.
Infrastructure was raised at a meeting Monday between Trump and lawmakers.
"They thought that was an area maybe to find common ground, and then Sen
McConnell made the important point it needs to be paid for because we've got
$20 trillion in debt," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the No. 2 Senate GOP leader.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said previously he
doesn't want another infrastructure plan that is effectively an economic
stimulus program like the one Congress passed in 2009 at former President
Barack Obama's behest.
Trump bemoaned the state of the nation's roads, bridges, airports and
railways during the presidential campaign and promised to generate $1 trillion
in infrastructure investment, putting people to work in the process. But Trump
has offered few specifics. Administration officials have indicated they expect
Trump to offer a detailed plan this spring.
"Senate Democrats are walking the walk on repairing and rebuilding our
nation's crumbling infrastructure," Senate Minority leader Charles Schumer,
D-N.Y., said. "We ask President Trump to support this common sense,
Democrats estimate their plan would create 15 million jobs.
A proposal by two of Trump's financial advisers circulated just after the
election calls for using $137 billion in tax credits to generate $1 trillion in
private investment in infrastructure projects over 10 years. But private
investors are typically interested only in projects that have a revenue stream
to produce a profit like tolls.
Tolling roads and bridges is often unpopular. A recent Washington Post poll
found that 66 percent of the public opposes granting tax credits to investors
who put their money into transportation projects in exchange for the right to
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and
transportation industry lobbying groups are campaigning for a hike in direct
federal spending instead of tax credits. What is needed most, they say, is
money to address the growing backlog of maintenance and repair projects, most
of which are unsuitable for tolling.