Politics

House Democrats Introduce $760 Billion Infrastructure Plan

House Democrats on Wednesday introduced a plan to invest $760 billion over five years into maintaining and rebuilding U.S. infrastructure.

The plan (pdf), called the “Moving Forward Framework,” aims to invest the money into roads, bridges, transit systems, railways, airports, ports, inland waterways, wastewater and drinking water systems, brownfields, and broadband.

The framework aims to “create an estimated 10 million jobs, while reducing carbon pollution, dramatically improving safety, and spurring economic activity.” It is not a formal bill but serves to guide House committees seeking to eventually introduce legislation related to the countrys infrastructure.

A factsheet (pdf) overview of the plan shows that Democrats want to assign $329 billion to “Modern Highways & Highway Safety Investments.” The money will be allocated to revamp roads and bridges, and also be dedicated toward “dramatically increasing the availability of charging stations and other alternative fueling options for electric and zero-emissions vehicles.”

Other costs outlined in the plan include $105 billion for public transit, $55 billion for the passenger rail network, $30 billion for airport investments, $50.5 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure, $25.4 billion on drinking water, and $86 billion for expanding broadband access across the country.

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said in a statement that the framework “combats climate change by reducing carbon emissions and moving us toward a clean energy future,” and “will also create good-paying jobs, ensure that no community is left behind in the digital economy, and help protect Americans drinking water.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not specify when the Democrats intend to introduce the plan as legislation to the House.

“Dont worry about the timetable, just rest assured that when were ready we will come to the Floor,” Pelosi told reporters at a press conference. “And it wont be soon—were not talking about next week or something. The committees are working their way and when were ready, well bring it to the Floor. Well see,” Pelosi later added.

Specifics as to where the money to fund the investments would come from was not explicitly spelled out in the plan, although part of the plan has outlined a number of areas from which funding could be secured.

“I think its really important that we not volunteer a revenue stream until the administration reaches an agreement with us,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said at a news conference, according to The Hill. “And I think that that will provide an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats after our committee negotiates with them over what the revenue stream ought to be, to get on with what is a sorely needed investment in America.”

The House Ways and Means Committee discussed funding options at a hearing on Wednesday (video) titled “Paving the Way for Funding and Financing Infrastructure Investments.”

Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the top Republican on the committee, said at the hearing that he hopes infrastructure costs will not come by way of tax increases on the American people or on businesses.

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