ROADS/BRIDGES: Senate Democrats offer their own infrastructure plan

Jan. 24, 2017

The $1 trillion package is a direct response to President Trump’s proposed plan

Senators Charles Schumer (NY), Bill Nelson (FL), Patrick J. Leahy (VT), Ron Wyden (OR), Sherrod Brown (OH), Maria Cantwell (WA.), and Thomas R. Carper (DE), along with Bernie Sanders (Ind.-VT), have unveiled a package that would have the federal government directly spend $1 trillion to upgrade the national infrastructure.

The proposal will address a number of infrastructure needs, including $210 billion to upgrade roads and bridges; $110 billion to repair water and sewer systems; $180 billion for railways and bus systems; $100 billion for energy infrastructure; $75 billion to fix schools; $20 billion to install more broadband capacity; $20 billion to go to public and tribal land maintenance; and $10 billion to upgrade Veterans Affairs hospitals.

“Our urban and rural communities have their own unique set of infrastructure priorities, and this proposal would provide funding to address those needed upgrades that go beyond the traditional road and bridge repair,” Schumer said. “Each day, too many students attend school in buildings so decrepit the pipes leach lead into their drinking water, our country’s heroes sit in VA hospitals that are crumbling beneath them, and millions in rural communities cannot kick-start local business because they lack access to the critical high-speed Internet they need.”

President Trump’s proposal focused more directly on offering tax credits to private firms interested in infrastructure projects with profit potential . Critics, including those Democrats involved in the response plan, have said that a full tax credit plan will truly incentivize new projects that wouldn’t have happened otherwise and therefore induce builders to hire new workers. Thus the economic benefit of Trump’s plan isn’t likely to appear.

Democrats will directly counter that structure. Trump’s plan has “got to be bold, large, it’s got to have new spending, new expenditures,” Schumer told the Washington Post. “It can’t just be tax breaks because that won’t get enough done.”

The senators will propose paying for their plan by closing tax loopholes, although they have yet to go into specifics.