Opinion: ¨The GOP´s infrastructure counteroffer refuses to meet the moment.
Congressional Republicans’ infrastructure alternative to President Biden´s American Jobs Plan neglects to go far enough in overhauling America´s depleted infrastructure system.
Senate Republicans have released a $568 billion infrastructure proposal to counter the more than $2 trillion package American Jobs Plan unveiled by President Biden early last month. The Republicans counteroffer, led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., invests only $568 billion over five years into our nation’s diminished “core infrastructure” system.
“This is the largest infrastructure investment Republicans have come forward with,” Sen. Moore Thursday while unveiling the proposal. “This is a robust package.”
The new Republican proposal is about a quarter of the size of Biden’s more than $2 trillion proposal — and also smaller than former President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan from three years ago. It’s also significantly narrower than either of those other plans, focused primarily on transportation infrastructure along with items like broadband and water projects.
The Republican plan is extensive on highway funding, allocating $299 billion for roads and bridges, or more than half of the overall figure. On the transportation side, it also includes $61 billion for transit, $20 billion for rail, $44 billion for airports, $17 billion for water ports, and $13 billion for safety agencies including the DOT bodies that oversee highways, trucking, and pipelines. Non-transportation line items include $65 billion for broadband, $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and $14 billion for water storage.
Let´s contrast, the GOP’s meager infrastructure plan with the President’s transformative American Jobs Plan. The American Jobs Plan will invest $383.5 billion in repairing roads in bridges, $178.8 billion in public transit, 95.3 billion in rail, $22 billion in investment in safer roads for cyclists and pedestrians. Airports are the one area where Republicans have proposed more funding than the Biden administration. (Biden plan: $39.7 billion, GOP plan: $44 billion)
The Republicans’ infrastructure package fails to meet the gravity of this moment our nation is experiencing. The United States is the world’s most opulent country, yet we rank a dismal 13th when it comes to the overall condition of our infrastructure. Republicans’ counteroffer lacks the legislative ambition required to invest in our nation’s infrastructure and economy.