A new proposal introduced Wednesday addresses the country’s aging infrastructure while prioritizing clean energy.
Welcome to year three of Infrastructure Week. Just kidding. Sort of.
President Trump’s long-promised improvements to the nation’s crumbling infrastructure have become a running joke over the past three years, but that doesn’t mean other lawmakers aren’t still working to find a solution.
On Wednesday, House Democratic leaders revealed the broad strokes of their $760 billion, five-year infrastructure plan. The proposal consists of several pieces of existing highway, transit, and water legislation, while also including new measures to improve access to broadband and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
The proposal also aims to create more than 10 million jobs, according to a factsheet released by Democrats.
The “Moving Forward Framework” was crafted by Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee; Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
“There is no better way to strengthen our economy for the future than to modernize our badly aging infrastructure. This bold framework not only helps us rebuild our nation, it also combats climate change by reducing carbon emissions and moving us towards a clean energy future,” Pallone said in a statement. “It will also create good paying jobs, ensure that no community is left behind in the digital economy, and help protect Americans’ drinking water.”
The 19-page plan includes:
- $329 billion to modernize transportation systems and improve safety, including fixing the nation’s 47,000 structurally deficient bridges
- $105 billion for transit agencies to add new routes, improve service, and increase investment in zero-emission buses to reduce carbon pollution.
- $55 billion in railway investments to expand the nation’s passenger rail network and modernize and improve Amtrak stations, facilities, and services.
- $30 billion to support airport investments
- $50.5 billion for clean water and wastewater infrastructure
- $25.4 billion to protect Americans’ drinking water
- $34.3 billion in clean energy investments
- $86 billion to expand broadband internet across the country
The proposal must still be drafted into formal legislation before it comes to the House floor for a vote, and it’s unclear how long that will take.
“We’ll go to the floor when we’re ready,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters. “We’re not talking about next week.”
Democrats still have to find a way to pay for the proposal and could run into other obstacles too, such as the Republican Senate, which has shown little inclination to support Democratic legislation.
Still, House Democrats appear eager to pick this fight and champion their infrastructure proposal.
“The framework we released today is the launchpad we need to move forward on those transformational investments and curb carbon pollution,” Rep. DeFazio said in a statement. “In the coming months, I look forward to continuing our work to make this framework a reality. The cost of inaction is too great.”