July 1 — Hillary Clinton's Democratic Party proposes to put millions of Americans to work with the “most ambitious investment in American infrastructure” since the interstate highway system was created.
In a draft platform released July 1, the Democrats called for a major federal jobs program that among other things would focus on expanding the nation's roads, bridges, public transit, airports, and passenger and freight rail lines. The priorities align with the campaign promises by presumptive presidential nominee Clinton to boost federal investment by $275 billion over the next five years.
The draft platform does not lay out a detailed plan for funding transportation programs, though it includes the idea of creating a national infrastructure bank—another proposal that Clinton has touted as part of her campaign's infrastructure program.
“The bank will provide loans and other financial assistance for investments in energy, water, broadband, transportation, and multi-modal infrastructure projects,” according to the draft platform.
Underinvestment in infrastructure has been a chronic problem for the past few decades. The 18.4 cent-per-gallon federal gas tax, which helps subsidize the Highway Trust Fund, has not been raised in three decades. And a five-year, $305 billion highway and transit spending reauthorization bill enacted late last year (Pub. L. No. 114-94) was funded by a number of non-transportation-related pay-fors, like giving the Internal Revenue Service more authority to collect overdue taxes.
The idea of creating an infrastructure bank to help finance infrastructure projects is not new idea.
Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) introduced legislation (H.R. 625) last year that would use repatriated offshore corporate taxes to create a $50 billion infrastructure bank. Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) also introduced a bill (S. 1589) that would establish an infrastructure bank independent of the federal government. Neither bill won widespread support.
Just hours before the Democrats released their draft transportation platform, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who is being vetted as a possible running mate for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, halted state-funded transportation projects after senators failed to take up his plan to raise the state gas tax in exchange for lowering sales tax.
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Further details about the draft Democratic platform are available online here: http://src.bna.com/gtm
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