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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

GOP senators unveil counterproposal to Biden's infrastructure plan


A group of U.S. Senate Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) yesterday introduced a five-year, $568 billion infrastructure plan — a much smaller and more narrow proposal than President Joe Biden's $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan.

The GOP's plan would address what the senators characterized as core, physical infrastructure: roads and bridges ($299 billion); public transit systems ($61 billion); freight and passenger rail ($20 billion); water and wastewater ($35 billion); ports and inland waterways ($17 billion); broadband ($65 billion); airports ($44 billion); and water storage ($14 billion); and safety ($13 billion).

To pay for their plan, the senators called for user fees on electric vehicles and repurposing unused federal spending allocated by the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Congress passed in March, The Hill reported.

"This is a robust package when we look at where we’re focusing our infrastructure needs," said Capito, ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, in a press release. "The funding levels and the principles are meant to guide us. And then I would say now’s the time for the committees to get to work."

Republicans said their plan is a framework for developing bipartisan bills that Congress could pass.

The Republican proposal drew criticism from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

"This proposal cuts transit funding by $4 billion and is a major step backward for communities that want to rebuild their economy and re-imagine their future," said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Skoutelas in a statement shared on Twitter. "I urge the president and congressional leaders to take this historic opportunity to focus on forward-looking investment that modernizes public transit systems and meets the growing mobility demands of communities large and small."

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More News from 4/23/2021