Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, announced that he will be introducing a bill, costing $1 trillion over the next five years, that would boost transportation infrastructure throughout the country.
The Rebuild America Act, according to Sanders, is a bill that would fund maintenance of federal transportation infrastructure – something he believes is long overdue.
“For many years we have underfunded the maintenance of our nation’s physical infrastructure,” Sanders wrote in an op-ed for The Hill on Tuesday. “That has to change. It is time to rebuild America. A $1 trillion investment to modernize our country’s physical infrastructure would not just rebuild our country but create and maintain 13 million good-paying jobs that our economy desperately needs.”
While Sanders’ piece did not outline specific methods for funding the bill, lawmakers have recently been considering raising the federal gas tax to help fund transportation maintenance. The gas tax, which has not been raised since 1993, brings in $34 billion per year and is the primary source for transportation-related projects. The current transportation bill will expire in May.
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“Our infrastructure is collapsing, and the American people know it,” Sanders said. “Every day, they drive on roads with unforgiving potholes, over bridges that are in disrepair and wait in traffic jams on congested roads. They see railroads and subways that arrive late and that are overcrowded. They see airports bursting at the seams. They worry that a local levee could fail in a storm.
“To get our infrastructure to a state of good repair by 2020, the American Society of Civil Engineers says we must invest $1.6 trillion more than what we now spend,” he continued. “If that sounds a like a lot of money, consider for a moment that the sad state of our infrastructure already costs the economy close to $200 billion per year.”
Sanders expressed his commitment to the bill in his op-ed, warning that America’s infrastructure is “collapsing” and would continue to do so if something was not done to fix it.
“A $1 trillion investment would put 13 million people to work repairing the backlog of infrastructure projects all across this country,” he said. “Moreover, each project would require equipment, supplies and services, and the hard-earned salaries from the jobs created would be spent in countless restaurants, shops and other local businesses. And, all of this economic activity would generate new tax revenues to pay for the services that the American people expect and deserve.”
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Source: The Hill / Photo Credit: thehill.com, WikiCommons