HARTFORD, Conn. & WASHINGTON (WTNH) — Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators are calling the President’s infrastructure proposal a bad deal for American taxpayers.
Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy say they want to work across the aisle for a bipartisan plan to rebuild roads, bridges and other parts of the nation’s infrastructure; but this is not the way to go.
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The biggest infrastructure project currently underway in Connecticut is a half billion dollar 18-foot wide underground 4-mile tunnel to bring untreated sewage to the MDC treatment plant by the Connecticut River in Hartford. The five year project is being paid for partially by the state and water and sewer rate payers in Greater Hartford.
It was at this construction site that Senator Richard Blumenthal verbally deconstructed the President’s infrastructure plan saying, “This Trump proposal is more about hedge funds than hard hats. The chief benefits would go to Wall Street and corporate America.”
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The President’s plan calls for leveraging $1.3 trillion dollars in state and private financing with a $200 billion dollar down payment. It would mean that instead of the traditional 80-percent funding from the feds, with the state paying the other 20-percent, it would be reversed. The state would have to come up with 80-percent of highway funding, and the feds would pay just 20-percent.
Senator Chris Murphy was scheduled to appear at the Hartford construction site, but his flight was cancelled, and spoke to News 8 from Washington Monday saying, “The only way the President’s plan works is if you sell off all of America’s infrastructure to Wall Street financiers.”
Murphy says that could result not only in tolls on the interstates, but on state roads and bridges as well. He’s renewing his call for increasing the federal tax on gasoline adding, “I think the best way to pay for it is increasing the federal gas tax which hasn’t been increased since 1993. If we did that it would take some pressure off of states.”
Senator Blumenthal does not favor that idea. He says it can be paid for by closing more corporate tax loopholes and taxation of repatriated dollars being held by large corporations overseas.
Governor Malloy issued a news release about the President’s plan saying:
On the campaign trail and since taking office, President Trump promised major and much-needed investments in our nation’s infrastructure. The proposal released today fails to live up to the president’s promises – allocating less than 14 percent of the $1.5 trillion dollar investment he promised and relying on phantom private funding. Indeed, thanks to major cuts in the president’s proposed budget to programs supporting infrastructure investments – particularly transportation programs – it could actually make our problems worse. While the nations with whom we compete invest in high-speed rail, modernized airports, highways, and transit systems, we are allowing our transportation system to fall further into a state of disrepair. I find it appalling that this president would borrow $1.5 trillion for a tax cut that primarily benefits the wealthiest 1 percent while putting forward an infrastructure plan that fails to meet even this country’s most basic transportation and other infrastructure needs.
It is clear that it will be up to the states to invest in their transportation infrastructure, and Connecticut is in desperate need of investment. For years, we have underfunded our Special Transportation Fund, and as a result, the condition of our roads, bridges, tunnels, and rails lag behind our neighboring states. That’s why I have put forward a commonsense revenue proposal. With a lack of serious solutions coming from the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress, it is more important than ever that the legislature act this session to not just stabilize, but to ensure the future sustainability of the Special Transportation Fund and rebuild Connecticut.”