Unlike Republicans, Democrats were not handing out laurels to President Donald Trump's infrastructure investment plan, which was fleshed out in a White House document Monday (Feb. 12).
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“I am deeply disappointed that the president failed to include dedicated broadband funding in his infrastructure proposal," Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), co-chair of the House Rural Broadband Caucus, said. "This glaring omission is a betrayal of the rural voters that supported him in his election, and a missed opportunity to close the digital divide that separates rural and urban America. A robust rural broadband network is essential to attract businesses, provide access to healthcare through telemedicine, help farmers become more efficient, and close the homework gap that hamstrings rural students.”
The president's plan includes $50 billion for rural infrastructure, including rural broadband, but also including bridges, rail airports, inland ports, public transit, drinking water, storm water, power, electric, flood management and more. That is part of $200 billion in direct funding that the White House says will drive $1.5 billion in infrastructure investment in public and private funds.
“President Trump’s infrastructure proposal is woefully inadequate for addressing the urgent needs of modernizing our nation’s infrastructure," said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. "The proposal does not include any new funding, and it forces the majority of costs onto cash-strapped state and local governments."
The president proposed leveraging $200 billion in government funding into $1.5 trillion in infrastructure upgrades and deployment. "President Trump spared no expense and required no offsets for his tax scam benefitting corporations and the wealthiest few," said Pallone, "but he refuses to provide any new funding to repair our crumbling infrastructure."
That "tax scam" was a reference to the Republican-backed tax cut bill that, among other things, reduced the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.