NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut Democratic leaders in Congress are hoping for some common-ground with the new Trump Administration on the issue of rebuilding the state’s infrastructure, but it already sounds like political battle lines are being drawn about how to pay for it eight weeks before the new President even takes office.
Erin Stewart, the young Republican Mayor of New Britain, had three of Connecticut’s top Democrats in Congress listening carefully on what she would like to do to help commuters that park at a local garage make it safely to the Connecticut Fastrak express bus terminal. It’s one of many infrastructure improvements state leaders are hoping President Elect Trump’s vow to make major infrastructure improvements will pay for.
The new ‘BeeHive Bridge’ near the bus terminal is already funded with state and federal dollars, but there’s a lot more New Britain and many other Connecticut cities want. The Democratic leaders on a brief tour with Mayor Stewart Monday already sounded like they’re ready for an infrastructure funding fight with the new President.
“We’re calling on President-elect Trump to don’t do give aways to Wall Street and financiers. Be a partner. Be a genuine partner with our states and localities,” said U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District).
“If this is just about helping Wall Street. If this is just about privatizing our highways and our rail lines and our bridges, there’s probably going to be a fight,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut).
Democratic leaders want to see a major boost in spending at the federal level for infrastructure and so far, that is not what President-elect Trump has been talking about.
“They offer tax breaks, tax credits for private investors, not new investment from federal funding in new projects for new jobs,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut).
The young Republican Mayor tried not to take any side in the Presidential election in this overwhelmingly Democratic City that voted overwhelmingly for Clinton.
“He is our President-elect. He is going to be our President and how can I work best with the federal delegation and the new congress and senate in getting things accomplished for my little city of New Britain,” said Stewart.
The Trump campaign called for a “Deficit neutral system of infrastructure tax credits.”
Noted Harvard Economist Martin Feldstein reminds us that there is no guarantee that congress would go along with these big tax credits and even if they did, no guarantee big business would respond.