Rep. Don Young introduced his own plan for improving America’s infrastructure, saying that “without strong infrastructure, our global competitiveness is on the line. We must not risk falling behind the rest of the world.”
The Don Young Plan for America’s Infrastructure Future would cost $1.25 trillion. Unlike the Biden plan, Young’s proposal focuses exclusively on traditional infrastructure, from roads and bridges to airports and seaports.
With talks at an impasse between the White House and Senate Republicans over President Biden’s infrastructure plan, Young offered a framework for improvements that span America’s highways, airports, utilities and broadband. The Biden White House has said that it is open to considering any plan put forth, as members offer competing ideas and initiatives.
“There are multiple paths forward,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
$500 billion for improving transportation
Young is proposing to reauthorize legislation for building and repairing U.S. roads, bridges, transit and rail at a cost of $500 billion. He would impose a one-time increase to the excise tax for gasoline and diesel to pay for it.
“Congress should negotiate and pass a bipartisan five-year surface transportation reauthorization through regular order that provides long-term solvency for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF),” he said.
The Highway Trust Fund receives money from a federal fuel tax on gasoline and diesel and related excise taxes.
Young also would phase in a user fee for passenger and commercial electric vehicles (EVs) over five years.
Ten percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. are expected to be EVs by 2025.
Young is asking for the Department of Transportation to implement a “plan for how gas, diesel, and alternative fuel vehicles should be transitioned away from the fuel excise tax to a user fee over a period of no more than 10 years.”
$750 billion to modernize airports, seaports
Young wants an additional $750 billion to update and improve the nation’s airports, seaports, electric grid and broadband.
He would offset costs through a corporate tax increase, excluding small and family-owned businesses. Young would increase the tax rate from 21% to to 25%.
“Congress should recognize that there is wisdom in the ‘user pays, user benefits’ principle. Corporations benefit from and are users of America’s infrastructure,” Young said.
The value and opportunities that a modernized national transportation system bring outweigh the costs of a rate increase, he said.
Congress should allocate a portion of the $750 billion for community infrastructure projects in their states and home districts, he said.
“Members of Congress are closest to their constituencies and understand their needs better than the federal government agencies that currently award federal infrastructure monies through existing formulas or competitive grant programs,” he said.
Contact political reporter Linda F. Hersey at 459-7575 or follow her at twitter.com/FDNMpolitics.