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Senate Democrats roll out a $1 trillion infrastructure proposal

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Various media outlets reported this week that United States Senate Democrats are stepping up to the plate in offering up a ten-year, $1 trillion infrastructure plan.This comes on the heels of President Donald Trump talking on the campaign trail, about a “trillion-dollar rebuilding plan” that would be “one of the biggest projects this country has ever undertaken, which he said would be funded through low interest rates and infrastructure bonds.One of the things Trump made clear in his acceptance speech after election night was that a national commitment to infrastructure could no longer be ignored or overlooked. “We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals,” he said. “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.” And his inauguration speech included similar comments.The Senate Democrats plan, according to an Associated Press report, is expected to create 15 million jobs, with $210 billion allocated towards repairing aging roads and bridges and $200 billion for “a vital infrastructure plan” to finance transportation projects of national significance.”The New York Times reported that the plan Senate Democrats plan dedicates $180 billion to rail and bus systems, $65 billion to ports, airports and waterways, $110 billion for water and sewer systems, $100 billion for energy infrastructure, and $20 billion for public and tribal lands.In the AP report Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said that “Senate Democrats are walking the walk on repairing and rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. We ask President Trump to support this common sense, comprehensive approach.”Where things go from here remains to be seen, as Trump has not released a formal plan yet, but one thing that is certain is that how a national infrastructure plan gets funded will likely prove to be a point of contention between the White House and Senate Democrats either way.While details are unclear, administration officials are floating some $137 billion in tax credits to infrastructure investors. It’s estimated these tax credits would generate an estimated $1 trillion in private sector investment over 10 years.But whether that $1 trillion would go to the most-needed infrastructure jobs––or merely those that produce the biggest revenue streams to investors––is an open question.  Incoming Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has said it’s time to “unleash the potential” of private capital to modernize that infrastructure.

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