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Early Fissures Appear in Infrastructure Debate

Fri, March 08, 2019 3:32 PM | CIRT News (Administrator)

While infrastructure remains a central bipartisan goal, with the House Democrats vowing to introduce legislation in the coming weeks; the long sort after illusive consensus on how to pay for the package is lacking at this time. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told Bloomberg BNA this week: “[W]hile everybody wants to invest in infrastructure, it is more problematic from many perspectives of how you pay for that.”

The Democrat led effort wants a “traditional” funding plan that is likely to include more federal spending than the one put forth by President Trump; with groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Society of Civil Engineers endorsing a hike in the gas tax by 25 cents over the next five years. Whereas, the President and his Republican allies in Congress favor a variety of alternative funding approaches that include: states, localities, and the private sector supplying most of the $1.5 trillion cost for building new roads, bridges and other public works projects. This approach would include a more modest federal expenditure of some $200 billion over a decade in support of the alternative spending sources and levels.

Aside from the funding mechanism, Democrats are likely to want an infrastructure bill to include other more controversial provisions that promote clean energy and combat climate change, which could also be a non-starter for President Trump and Republican lawmakers.

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