By David Bauer, senior vice president of government relations, ARTBA
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign released Nov. 30 a “Building Tomorrow’s Economy Today” initiative it claims would generate $500 billion in infrastructure investments over five years. The proposal calls for boosting existing federal infrastructure investments by $250 billion and using to $25 billion to fund an infrastructure bank. The campaign says the bank would leverage $225 billion in loans and credit assistance. The $275 billion needed to fund the proposal would come from “business tax reform”—the same source of revenue the Obama Administration and a number of senior Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill unsuccessfully sought to fund a surface transportation reauthorization bill.
The materials describing the initiative do not break down how the funds generated by the proposal would be allocated among different types of activities, but it is clear the proposal is not limited to transportation. According to the documents, “she would go beyond surface transportation investments to address our substantial infrastructure needs in energy, water, broadband and more.” At the same time, the proposal notes a number of GOP presidential candidates are advocating “proposals that would dramatically reduce national investments in infrastructure.”
Not surprisingly, the plan is short on specifics, but it is notable that several sections explicitly call for increased road and highway capacity and, in so doing, break from the dogma of professional environmental lobbyists and their allies in Congress about only using federal funds for roadway maintenance. The proposal also states, “she is committed to initiating upgrades of at least the 25 most costly freight bottlenecks by the end of her first term.”