Responding to President Trump’s call during his State of the Union address for up to $1.7 trillion in new infrastructure construction and repair funding, a group of Democrat lawmakers are saying that the idea is impractical.
In a report entitled Republicans Plan Bait and Switch on Infrastructure, the Democrat members of Congress’ Joint Economic Committee is taking particular aim at the public and private projects, otherwise known as P3s, emphasized by the President.
The report says that P3s resulted in the construction of only fourteen highway projects between 1990 and 2014.
“Relying on a massive influx of new P3s is risky and ignores the significant gap between investors’ motivations in financing infrastructure and the public interest,” the report continues.
The report also criticized Trump’s stated desire for more state and local involvement in highway and road construction projects, noting “Already, state and local governments account for more than three-fourths of all infrastructure spending. And states are not awash in cash. Twenty-two states faced revenue shortfalls in 2017, partly a result of declining oil prices in energy-producing states and tax cuts in others.”
In a statement, New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, who is the ranking member of the Joint Economic Committee, noted that Senate Democrats, well before the President’s State of the Union address, had proposed up to $1 trillion in new federal investments “in order to maintain roads, bridges, ports, water systems, rail transit and airports,” while also promoting investments in energy, school, and hospital projects.
The Joint Economic Committee’s Democrats say there is a pressing need for stepped-up federal investment in the nation’s infrastructure, noting that such investment has declined since 2010 from $100 billion to around $95 billion today.
By Garry Boulard
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