Share
May 30, 2019 1:15 PM, EDT

Democratic Presidential Candidate John Delaney Unveils $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

John Delaney Delaney speaks at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Legislative Conference in early May. (John Delaney via Facebook)

A $2 trillion proposal from 2020 presidential aspirant John Delaney would look to improve connectivity along freight routes, transit systems and other corridors through a comprehensive revenue stream.

“There are no easy answers to many of our economic issues, but there are simple answers, including launching a massive, job-creating, community-improving infrastructure program to rebuild our roads and bridges, extend rural broadband, improve decaying water systems and build the advanced energy economy,” Delaney said May 29. “As your president … I will roll up my sleeves and do what my dad the electrician did his whole life, get to work and start building things, big things, again.”

Specifically, Delaney would dedicate $200 billion to the federal Highway Trust Fund, an account used to assist states with construction and maintenance projects which relies primarily on dwindling revenue from the fuel tax. Under the plan, the fuel tax would be increased to account for inflation since it was last raised in 1993. Then the rate would be indexed to inflation.

Additionally, the plan calls for raising the corporate tax rate to 27%, from 21%, to help pay for projects. A national infrastructure bank would be established with $50 billion as a way of leveraging $750 billion in infrastructure projects, and promoting public-private partnerships.

A rural broadband matching fund would receive $40 billion to improve access to high-speed broadband. And, a climate resiliency fund would be backed by $60 billion to prioritize severe-weather resilient infrastructure projects.

Ensuring new projects are capable of withstanding the impact of powerful storms and floods has been a priority for key congressional Democrats.

“What meteorologists deem as 100-year floods have been occurring with more frequency, leading to widespread destruction to land, people’s homes and public infrastructure. Recently in Iowa when the levees broke along the Missouri River, communities were flooded resulting in billions of dollars in damage and forcing people from their homes,” according to the plan on the candidate’s campaign website.

John Delaney

Flood waters from the Missouri River stream through a break in a levee, north of Hamburg, Iowa. (Nati Harnik/Associated Press)

Additionally, the plan would aim to modernize ports and schools.

While in Congress representing Maryland, Delaney sought unsuccessfully to establish an infrastructure bank, and in 2017 he joined his Democratic colleagues to launch the New Democrat Coalition’s Task Force on Infrastructure.

With his plan, Delaney joins Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) as the second Democratic candidate to raise awareness about roads and bridges around the country determined by transportation officials and analysts to be in poor condition. Klobuchar proposed providing $650 billion in federal funds to the infrastructure network, as well as raising the corporate tax rate to 25% from 21%.

Klobuchar

For Republicans, President Donald Trump in 2018 unveiled a 10-year, $1.5 trillion plan which was shunned by the GOP-led House and Senate. That plan relied significantly on nonfederal funds.

This year, Trump and top congressional Democrats had agreed to proceed on a $2 trillion infrastructure plan. The bipartisan effort was short-lived, however, after negotiations collapsed May 22 due to Trump’s objections to ongoing investigations into his presidential campaign.

Since the Clinton administration, the federal tax on diesel has been 24.4 cents per gallon, while the tax on gas has stayed at 18.4 cents per gallon.