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Democrats – Trump all-in on $2 trillion for infrastructure

Schumer and Pelosi outside the White House earlier this year. Credit: Shutterstock

Congressional Democrats claim they and President Trump have agreed on $2 trillion to fund infrastructure – but the two sides have yet to settle on a way to pay for it.

“We agreed on [the] number – originally we started a little lower, [and] even the President was eager to push it up, and that is a very good thing,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said outside the White House after the meeting on April 30.

“We talked about a number of things we would do; obviously the roads and bridges and highways, also water. But also…an emphasis on the power grid, so we can bring clean energy from one end of the country to the other.”

Schumer also said that he, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and other lawmakers told the President “we needed his ideas on funding,” and that Trump’s last proposal – a 10-year plan that sought to leverage $200 billion in federal funding into $1 trillion in investments – “wasn’t going to work. So where does he propose that we can fund this? Because if we don’t have him on board, it will be very hard to get the Senate to go along.”

Trump did not give his own assessment immediately after the meeting.

The American Trucking Associations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor were optimistic going into the meeting and said they were just as hopeful afterwards, as everyone seemed to agree on the need for a “well-funded” infrastructure bill.

“We are encouraged to hear President Trump, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer and other key Congressional Democrats are in agreement on a ‘big, bold’ vision to invest as much as $2 trillion on our deteriorating infrastructure,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear.

“We have a tool that can generate $340 billion over the next 10 years to fix our bridges and fill potholes across the country. The fuel tax is the one funding tool in the toolbox that pays for itself by users. It is the most effective, efficient and yes, conservative way of generating the amount of money we need to do the job.” ATA has proposed a 20-cent increase in the fuel tax over four years to generate $340 billion in money that could be used immediately to invest in roads and bridges.

The association was also one of over 300 national and state trucking, business and labor groups that signed a letter sent to the White House ahead of the meeting urging support for a long-term infrastructure package “funded with real money, not gimmicks.”

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John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.