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Legislative Update: Democrat Infrastructure Plan Unveiled

January 26, 2017

Preempting the much anticipated Trump Administration $1 trillion infrastructure investment package, Senate Democrats proposed their own $1 trillion plan on Tuesday. The “Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure” would fund infrastructure projects over a 10-year period and purportedly create more than 15 million jobs.

Some of the highlights of the plan include the creation of a $200 billion “vital infrastructure fund” that would finance major projects such as the Gateway Program to repair rail lines and tunnels connecting New York City and New Jersey. The proposal also includes $210 billion for repairing declining roads and bridges, $100 billion for energy infrastructure, and $30 billion for Airport improvement.

Regarding the $30 billion designated for airport improvement, the plan calls for a “major increase in appropriations to the FAA’s annual facilities and equipment budget, the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), and additional investments to accelerate the continued implementation of the NextGen modernization program, which is deploying technology to improve aviation performance and safety.”

Top Senate Republicans have voiced opposition to the plan stating that Congress will not pass an infrastructure bill that resembles former President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package when the country is already $20 trillion in debt. The primary source of contention is how the $1 trillion in funding will be generated. The Democrats’ plan calls for direct federal funding. All of the details of the Trump Administration plan have not been released, but it is expected to include $137 billion in federal tax credits and potentially other incentives to entice private investment.

Last month, the Trump Transition Team asked the National Governors Association (NGA) to begin compiling a sample list of high priority infrastructure projects from each state. Governors were asked to submit three to five projects to NGA for consideration by the Trump Administration. It has been reported that over 300 projects have been submitted so far, indicating that many governors have submitted more than was requested. NASAO contacted NGA to follow up on the recent report, and it is our understanding that the submission process is still ongoing. The purpose of this initiative by the Trump Administration may simply be to gather information, but we encourage our members to reach out to their governors now to ensure that aviation is prioritized as the plan comes together.

Categories: Advocacy
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