While the current presidential election campaign has produced its share of marquee moments and sound bites, very little has been said about infrastructure. So what have the candidates said about rebuilding our nation's roads and bridges? As it turns out, a lot of general rhetoric and very few substantive policy proposals.
The American Road and Transportation Builders Association did some digging and exposed what has been said on the record. The below reports from the candidates left in the race are presented in alphabetical order.
At a “Hardhats for Hillary” campaign event, in Boston, Clinton proposed a five-year, $275 billion plan for federal infrastructure investment on top of existing levels, including roads, bridges, transit, airports, high speed rail, energy facilities and internet access. She would allocate $25 billion of that amount to capitalize a national infrastructure bank, and reauthorize the Build America Bonds program. Clinton would fund these additional investments through “business tax reform.”
Sen. Cruz signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, committing himself to: “One, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and Two, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”
A Cruz administration will end the EPA regulations like the Waters of the U.S. rule and the Clean Power Plan that will "burden small businesses and farmers.” This is a reference to the WOTUS rule that would essentially deem any wet area as a “water of the United States” and place it under federal control. Sen. Cruz back in 2010, signed on as an original co-sponsor of the “Transportation Empowerment Act,” introduced on both occasions by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). The failed bill would have largely “devolved” much of the responsibility for national surface
transportation systems to the states.
Gov. Kasich signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, committing himself to: “One, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and Two, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”
Kasich wrote an op-ed entitled, “Let the States Fix Our Crumbling Highways – Instead of Washington,” in which he stated, “It’s time to get D.C. out of the highway business so America can get moving again. In a country that grows things and makes things we must be able to move things – quickly, cheaply, and safely – if we want to have the jobs-friendly climate America needs. Unfortunately, our country’s infrastructure, from the northeast rail corridor to our interstates to our local roads, is starting to crumble beneath our wheels and Washington seems powerless to help."
Sen. Rubio signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge” sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, committing himself to: “One, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and Two, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”
In a statement entitled "A Transportation Policy for the 21st Century: Let the States Pave the Way,” Rubio said that as president he would:
- Reduce the federal gasoline tax rate by 80 percent.
- Veto any gas-tax increase.
- Turn back control of the highways to the states, stopping special interests in Washington from building “Bridges to Nowhere” and engaging in other wasteful spending.
- Free states from the strings that come attached to federal funding.
- Remove barriers to public-private partnerships.
- Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act that inflates government costs by billions every year and is a giveaway of taxpayer dollars to labor unions.
- Phase out the Mass Transit Account, which loots the Highway Trust Fund.
- Stop diverting highway funds to unnecessary pet projects.
At his presidential campaign announcement in Burlington, Vt., Sanders stated: “It begins with jobs. If we are truly serious about reversing the decline of the middle class we need a major federal jobs program which puts millions of Americans back to work at decent paying jobs. At a time when our roads, bridges, water systems, rail and airports are decaying, the most effective way to rapidly create meaningful jobs is to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation which would invest $1 trillion over five years to modernize our country’s physical infrastructure. This legislation would create and maintain at least 13 million good-paying jobs, while making our country more productive, efficient and safe. And I promise you as president I will lead that legislation into law.”
From a video posted on the Donald J. Trump’s Facebook page, Trump stated, “I don’t like what I see happening to America…The infrastructure of our country is a laughingstock all over the world…Our airports, our bridges, our roadways – it’s falling apart…It’s a terrible thing to see.”
At Trump’s campaign announcement in New York City, he stated, “[As president I’d] rebuild the country’s infrastructure. Nobody can do that like me. Believe me. It will be done on time, on budget, way below cost, way below what anyone ever thought. I look at the roads being built all over the country, and I say I can build those things for one-third. What they do is unbelievable, how bad… “We have to rebuild our infrastructure, our bridges, our roadways, our airports. You come into La Guardia Airport, it’s like we’re in a third world country. You look at the patches and the 40-year-old floor. They throw down asphalt…And I come in from China and I come in from Qatar and I come in from different places, and they have the most incredible airports in the world. You come to back to this country and you have LAX, disaster. You have all of these disastrous airports. We have to rebuild our infrastructure.”