Republican infrastructure plan lacks specifics, but won’t raise taxes
By Jenny LescohierApril 26, 2021
Senate Republicans have responded to President Biden’s $2.3-trillion infrastructure proposal with a $568-billion alternative proponents claim is more tightly focused the nation’s transportation system.
According to media reports, the GOP plan specifically list roads and bridges, public transit systems, rail, drinking water & wastewater infrastructure, ports & inland waterways, airports, safety, broadband infrastructure and water storage, while Biden’s wide-ranging American Jobs Plan includes funding for community care and affordable housing, for example.
The Republican proposal includes:
- $299 billion for roads and bridges
- $61 billion for public transit,
- $20 billion for rail
- $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater
- $13 billion for safety
- $17 billion for ports and waterways
- $44 billion for airports
- $65 billion for broadband
- $14 billion for water storage
While it is not likely to receive support from Democrats, the Republican alternative to Biden’s infrastructure proposal is said to be meant to set a benchmark for discussion.
“The biggest message we want to put forward today is that this is important to us,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said (R-W.Va) was quoted. “We agree that these bills are necessary and that the committees of jurisdiction forge the compromise.”
Reports said Republican legislators have not indicated specifically how their plan would be paid for, however a two-page document called The Republican Roadmap suggested user fees for electric vehicles and repurposing existing federal spending. Biden proposes paying for his plan with a corporate tax increase.
Construction industry officials have voiced support for any new funding for infrastructure, but seem to be waiting with some skepticism until a final bill is passed.
In response to the latest legislative move, Michael Bellaman, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) said, “Enhancing global competitiveness and creating jobs should be the cornerstones of any plan to modernize our crumbling roads, bridges, schools and utilities. The Republican infrastructure framework would serve the American public well, as it focuses on safety, national security and resiliency.
“While the Republican plan to finance infrastructure lacks specifics, small businesses that suffered through the 2020 recession will be relieved that their tax burden will not increase under this framework, and they can continue to create jobs and drive America’s economic recovery under the beneficial provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.”
He continued, “It is good to see that the framework is based on key principles that would help ensure that America’s taxpayers get maximum value from the proposed $568 billion in investments. These include expediting the permitting process, reducing regulatory burdens and embracing technology and innovation, all of which can cut costs and improve productivity to deliver more infrastructure projects for each dollar spent.”