While Republicans have pledged to continue to draft their version of an infrastructure plan in the Senate, Democrats have emphasized that a plan backed primarily by private capital would not win their support.
“The budget pretends to increase infrastructure investments by $200 billion, but that is a sham,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), ranking member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “The ‘$200 billion investment’ is a 10-year figure with zero details about how or where that money is spent.”
DeFazio echoed much of the sentiment within his caucus. Over in the Senate, Vermont’s Patrick Leahy criticized the cuts to environmental as well as infrastructure programs.
“His budget eliminates key investments in rural communities, leaving them without federal partnership support for everything from infrastructure development and affordable housing to programs that preserve the environment and provide food for the elderly,” said Leahy, the ranking member on the powerful Appropriations Committee.
Trump’s plan unveiled May 23 would be jump-started with $200 billion in federal spending. It also claims that restrictions on tolling interstate highways impedes public and private investment in such facilities. “We should reduce this restriction … and weigh the relative merits of tolling assets,” the plan noted. Tolls are examples of public-private partnerships, or P3s, which Trump touted throughout the presidential campaign.
Lifting or relaxing the federal ban on tolling interstate highways falls under Congress’ jurisdiction. States looking to add tolls along new highway lanes require an exemption.