2020 hopeful John Delaney rolls out a $2 trillion infrastructure plan

Brittany Shepherd
National Politics Reporter
Democratic presidential candidate and former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., speaks in Storm Lake, Iowa, March 30. (Photo: Nati Harnik/AP)

WASHINGTON — White House hopeful John Delaney announced a refurbished infrastructure plan Wednesday, proposing to spend $2 trillion to invest in everything from from public schools to renewable energy.

Delaney, a former Maryland representative, is proposing a wide-ranging plan that includes injecting $200 billion into the soon to be impecunious Highway Trust Fund — paid for by hiking the corporate tax rate and indexing the gas tax to inflation — as well as establishing a $50 billion national infrastructure bank and a $60 billion climate infrastructure fund.

The plan would fund a number of additional programs, each set at $40 billion, targeting states and localities, for water infrastructure, school infrastructure and rural broadband, among other areas. The long shot candidate, who’s currently polling at 1 percent, said his “fully paid for” plan will allow Americans to “dream big again as a nation.”

“There are no easy answers to many of our economic issues, but there are simple answers, including launching a massive job-creating, community-improving infrastructure program to rebuild our roads and bridges, extend rural broadband, improve decaying water systems and build the advanced energy economy,” said Delaney in a statement.

Delaney, one of more than 20 Democratic presidential contenders, is pitching himself as a candidate capable of striking deals with Republicans, and points to his congressional record on infrastructure as proof that he knows “how to get things done.”

Delaney’s previous and more moderately budgeted $1 trillion infrastructure plan offers a strikingly similar combination of public-private partnerships, federal contributions and state and local dollars to keep the nation’s ailing roads, bridges and broadband networks functioning.

As a congressman, he pushed similar measures in two bills, one targeting repatriated corporate earnings and the other establishing a dedicated infrastructure bank. Both floundered in committee, however.

The Maryland Democrat’s updated proposal comes on the heels of a seemingly torpedoed bipartisan deal between congressional Democrats and the White House. President Trump, who has dismissed former adviser Gary Cohn’s infrastructure plan that involved public-private partnerships, seemed willing to move forward on a more costly $2 trillion deal — the same figure as what Delaney is now proposing.

Yet the deal combusted in real time as reports leaked of the president storming out of a planning meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, reportedly irate at ongoing House investigations.

Delaney, without referring to Trump by name, criticized the president’s failure to work with Congress to pass an infrastructure plan.

“As your president, I won’t walk out of an infrastructure meeting with congressional leaders and act like a spoiled child. I will roll up my sleeves and do what my dad the electrician did his whole life: get to work and start building things — big things — again,” said Delaney.

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