USDOT Secretary Defends $2+ Trillion Infrastructure Plan as ‘Once in a Lifetime Opportunity’
Washington D.C. – The Biden Administration is dispatching United States Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to sell its newly unveiled $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan.
On Wednesday, the White House rolled out its massive plan touted as the “American Jobs Act” and quickly sent Sec. Buttigieg, an inside the Beltway media darling, to promote it.
In a series of appearances on CNN, MSNBC, PBS Newshour, Fox News, RFD-TV, and more, the Secretary said the time is now to pass a “generational investment.”
“I think a moment like this only comes along once in a lifetime, maybe less than once in a lifetime, maybe once in a century,” Sec. Buttigieg told CNN’s New Day. “We’ve got to make the most of this moment. Go big while we can and strengthen America for the future.”
“I really do feel in my conversations with Republicans a shared appetite to do things to serve the American people … We agreed that this is important, and I think that’s a foundation to build on,” @SecretaryPete says about gaining GOP support for Biden’s infrastructure plan. pic.twitter.com/Q1nSxZAQ3c
— New Day (@NewDay) April 1, 2021
The plan includes $620 billion in physical infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, interstates, highways, rail, waterways, and airports.
It also calls for spending hundreds of billions of dollars on areas Americans are not accustomed to thinking of as traditional infrastructure projects, such as $300 billion for housing for low-income earners, $300 billion for manufacturing, $400 billion for home caretakers for the elderly and disabled, and $100 billion to build high-speed broadband infrastructure with the goal of reaching 100% coverage.
“I’m Transportation Secretary so I think a lot about roads and bridges which are more traditional, but in these times, broadband is absolutely an essential part of infrastructure,” Mr. Buttigieg told PBS Newshour in response to criticism from Republicans over the sprawling spending initiatives.
“I’ll tell you what’s ‘anti-competitive,’ it’s having third rate infrastructure being further degraded by a generation of failure to invest,” Transportation Sec. Buttigieg on criticism from Republicans that the taxes raised in the American Jobs Plan would hurt the working class. pic.twitter.com/QwvVyclr78
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) March 31, 2021
Critics are arguing the Biden Administration is attempting to redefine the meaning of infrastructure and specifically pointing to provisions included in the plan which are also a part of the highly partisan “Green New Deal” backed by the most progressive members of Congress.
For instance, the American Jobs Plan also includes $300 billion on improvements to the electric grid, along with a $174 billion investment in the electric vehicle EV market to build 500,000 EV charging stations nationwide, $213 billion to build, preserve, and retrofit more than two million homes and commercial buildings to improve energy efficiency standards, and $400 billion in clean energy credits.
Click HERE to take a look at what’s in the plan.
“Infrastructure is being redefined whether we keep up or not and that’s not a bad thing,” Sec. Buttigieg told PBS.
Sec. Buttigieg Pushes Back On Trucking Groups’ Concerns Over Tax Hikes
The Secretary also pushed back on critics who are taking aim at how the spending initiatives will be funded.
The proposal is an eight-year $2.25 trillion spending plan funded with business tax hikes over 15 years.
Specifically, the plan would reverse much of the Trump tax cuts for businesses and increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.
Trucking groups such as the American Trucking Associations and NATSO released statements expressing concern the tax increases on businesses will slow the economy.
“We do not believe the Administration’s funding proposal is politically tenable nor a reliable long-term solution to the shortfall facing the Highway Trust Fund,” ATA CEO Chris Spear said.
Lisa Mullings, president and CEO of NATSO, the largest trade association representing the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas, also called for ditching the tax hikes on businesses.
“Policymakers should seek self-sustaining infrastructure funding mechanisms, such as increasing the motor fuels taxes or a vehicle-miles traveled tax, rather than imposing corporate tax increases, which will hinder the economic recovery of businesses that have yet to emerge from the pandemic,” she stated.
Sec. Buttigieg called it a “responsible” approach.
“Any business will make decisions to invest and then make a plan to finance that investment. Many families make a decision to do home improvement and maybe that’s part of a 15-year or 30-year mortgage, but the point is we need to make the investments now. It’s a responsible way to do this,” he contended on CNN.
Stay with TransportationNation.com for more on this developing story.