Coming out of last week’s mid-term election, we are seeing more and more signals validating that the issue of the addressing the crumbling infrastructure across the United States is likely to take center stage come 2019 when the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives.
When the new Congress is seated come January, Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), is expected to become chairman of the House Transportation Committee and in a Washington Post article last week he shared is focus on pushing through a $500 billion infrastructure plan, anticipating President Trump’s support:
“Trump is a builder. He gets it,” DeFazio said. “The president got that as a candidate. He got derailed by the [economic advisers] he brought on board.”DeFazio also declined to rule out a return to earmarks, a process in which members funded pet projects in their districts, bypassing the Department of Transportation or other federal agencies that normally control such funding.The push to invest billions — DeFazio suggested $500 billion — in infrastructure comes less than a year after a Republican Congress passed a sweeping tax cut that is projected to add more than $1 trillion to the deficit over 10 years.DeFazio said the White House “had a finger in the wind” and dispatched an emissary to meet with him before Tuesday’s election.“I would hope that we could have [an infrastructure] package through the House in six months, before we get into the silliness of the presidential election year,” DeFazio said.
At the state level, in a couple of key states infrastructure projects received a strong vote of support:
- California rejected a repeal of the 10-cent gas tax increase with 55.4% of the vote. This means that the 6,500 road & bridge safety, transportation and public transit improvement projects can continue.
- Connecticut dedicated their fuel tax revenue to transportation projects by passing a lockbox measure.Maine voters once again approved a transportation bond measure, which approved funding not only for the state’s roadways and bridges but, also airports, ports, rail and transit.
- Hillsborough County, Florida approved a sales tax increase to fund long-sought transportation improvement projects as well as school repairs.