Groundbreaking plan would reverse Trump’s infrastructure cuts, invest in Maine

Groundbreaking plan would reverse Trump’s infrastructure cuts, invest in Maine

President Donald Trump surprised political analysts when, after promising new investment in infrastructure projects across the country, his budget proposal last week instead included cuts in funding for maintaining and improving the nation’s highways, bridges, harbors and other key transportation links in order to pay for new tax breaks for the wealthy.

With near-universal acknowledgement that crumbling infrastructure should be addressed and the millions of jobs such programs would create, it seemed a strange tack both in terms of politics and policy.

Maine would be hit particularly hard by this aspect of Trump’s budget, with cuts like the elimination of the Northern Border Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership which has funded infrastructure improvements, workforce training, and other vital services in Northern Maine.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus, however, is picking up the ball Trump dropped it and running with it. Their alternative proposal, dubbed the 21st Century New Deal for Jobs, would invest $2 trillion in infrastructure improvements over the next ten years. The plan would fix America’s degraded transportation, water, energy, and information systems and rebuild schools and public buildings while achieving full employment and sustaining it over the next decade.

The New Deal would also position the United States as a global leader in the new energy sector, with investments in efficiency, renewable energy and transmission technology that would help to meet the nation’s commitments to addressing climate change despite Trump’s attempts to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement.

“This plan recognizes the severity of our infrastructure investment deficit by calling for an infusion of $2 trillion in new spending to address decades of neglect and austerity measures that have too often dominated the debate in Washington,” said Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, following the CPC’s announcement. “This level of investment will ensure all forms of transportation — including public transit, Amtrak and other passenger rail systems, roads, bridges, ports, airports and air traffic control — are expanded and modernized, and will create millions of middle-class jobs.”

The groundbreaking proposal currently has 33 sponsors in the House, including Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine.

Photo via Flickr/Maurizio Laudisa.

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