Challenging Trump, Democrats attempt to sell own infrastructure plan

Led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Democrats signaled a willingness to work with President Trump and unveiled their version of an infrastructure spending bill Tuesday, challenging the White House to accept their motion.

Democrats say their proposal would create 15 million jobs, at a reported cost of $1 trillion.

“Our nation’s infrastructure issues are vast, and they go well beyond just road and bridge repair.  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,” Schumer said in a statement.

Under the Democrats’ plan, $210 billion would be spent to repair crumbling roads and bridges, $110 billion is spent to modernize local water and sewer systems with federal grants, $180 billion would be spent to replace and expand existing rail and bus systems and $70 billion would be to spent on improvements to ports, airports and waterways.

Comparably, $200 billion would be set aside for an undesignated Vital Infrastructure Projects program which would oversee and manage all federal investments to vital national projects.

To address the decaying energy infrastructure and overhaul power grids, $100 billion would be spent and would include tax incentives for renewable energy.

Of the remaining $135 billion in spending proposals, $10 billion is slated for the Veteran Administration for new hospitals, $95 billion on new schools and high-speed broadband expansion and $20 billion on rebuilding structures on Indian and public lands.

The Democratic proposal also includes the creation of an “I-Bank,” which would present means to furnish loans or loan guarantees for projects in the transportation, energy and housing sectors.

The Democratic plan specifically rejected the notion of tax credits, a central part of Mr. Trump’s proposal advanced during his campaign.

Although the White House had no comment on the Democratic strategy to revitalize the national transportation framework, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was less reserved.

“I don’t think we ought to borrow a trillion dollars and plus up a bunch of federal accounts, incur a lot of additional debt, and don’t build a lot of projects to speak of.  So I can tell you what I’m against – which is a replication of the Obama stimulus package in 2009,” McConnell said in response to Schumer’s proposal.

Trump confidant and fellow New York real estate developer Richard LeFrank, charged with the task of advising a White House infrastructure plan, said Monday the president’s proposal will likely be in the $550 billion range.


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