Although there are a vast number of issues upon which the Trump Administration and Democrats in Congress disagree, analysts have for some time now believed that an area of possible agreement could come in addressing the country’s infrastructure needs.
Now, Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Charles Schumer, the Democrat Minority Leader in the Senate, have signaled that they are willing to sit down with the President and discuss infrastructure ideas.
Speaker Pelosi earlier said that she wants to see passage of a bill that could provide as much as $2 trillion in funding for a variety of infrastructure needs, including repairing bridges and upgrading the nation’s highway system.
“I think we can work together,” Pelosi said in a press conference during a House Democratic meeting in Virginia. “I’m optimistic.”
But the Speaker also said that in order for any infrastructure legislation to be effective, it’s funding could not be any less than $1 trillion.
A plan offered in early 2017 by the White House, which asked Congress to authorize $200 billion over the next decade in order to jumpstart over $1.5 trillion in projects, died for lack of support.
Both Democrat and Republican leaders say the sticking point is not whether or not the country’s infrastructure needs work, but how to pay for that work.
Inevitably, say analysts, the question will come down to whether or not the President or Congress will be willing to raise the country’s fuel tax to fund current and ongoing infrastructure needs.
The upcoming meeting between the President and Congressional leaders comes in the wake of a report just issued by the Washington-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association saying that more than 47,000 of the country’s 616,000 bridges are now classified as “structurally deficient.”
That same report also said that if every structurally deficient in America was placed end-to-end it would comprise a span of 1,100 miles—more the distance between Chicago and Denver.
By Garry Boulard
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