Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg unveiled a trillion dollar infrastructure plan on Friday, pledging to direct federal funds to state and local governments to revitalize the nation’s transport networks, clean water supply and broadband internet.
“Under my administration, local governments will finally have a partner in Washington,” Buttigieg wrote in the plan. “As a former mayor, I know that priority-based budgets made locally are better than budget-based priorities set in Washington.”
Buttigieg was the mayor of South Bend, Ind. for eight years until his second term expired at the start of the year. He is polling in fourth place in national surveys of the Democratic primary contest.
The campaign said that the plan will be paid for by reforming the capital gains tax and repealing the 2017 GOP tax overhaul, reforms that had been previously disclosed. The campaign will also raise the estate tax, with a top rate of 65% for billionaires. The plan will create 6 million jobs, the campaign said.
“The bulk of the expense in the plan is already covered in our climate resiliency plan that was previously released,” Tess Whittlesey, a spokeswoman, said in an email.
The infrastructure plan includes the following:
- $100 billion to establish a fund to address lead in water, paint and soil
- $160 billion to improve public transportation, including $100 billion for states and cities to repair existing systems and expand their rail and bus services, and $12 billion for rural public transit
- $80 billion to a school repair program, allocating grants and loans to states based on poverty levels
- $80 billion to expand internet access to unserved and underserved communities
- $165 billion into the Highway Trust Fund to ensure its solvency through 2029
President Donald Trump has made infrastructure a key priority, though his efforts have so far failed to gain traction.
A bipartisan infrastructure deal he championed last year fizzled as conservatives balked at the price tag. As a first-time candidate, Trump campaigned on a $1 trillion infrastructure package.
Buttigieg wrote in the plan that the Trump administration “has been incapable of keeping its promise to pass major infrastructure legislation, and critical projects around the country are stalled because of it.”
“Meanwhile, our roads and bridges crumble, our schools fall into disrepair, water systems poison our children, and our flood protection systems fail as climate change accelerates,” he wrote.
Buttigieg is angling to make a splash in the upcoming primaries and caucuses, which kick off in less than a month in Iowa, where the 37-year-old Democrat is jockeying for first place with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Sanders has advocated for the Green New Deal, a sprawling set of environmental and infrastructure reforms that include “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability.”
Buttigieg has also said he supports the Green New Deal, though it is less central to his bid.
Former Vice President Joe Biden released his own infrastructure plan in November, calling for $1.3 trillion in new investment.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has pledged a variety of infrastructure reforms in her plans for rural America and the environment.
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