Friday, 18 Jan 2019

Next Transport Committee Chair Likes White House Ambience on Highways, Bridges and Public Transit

The next chair of the House Transportation Committee hears new White House discussions on infrastructure investments. He's joking about Lucy keeping the ball away as Charlie Brown is about to throw it. "This will not happen without strong support from the President," said Representative Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), Who should become chair of the committee when Democrats take control of the House in January. "The president will have to be fully involved if we want to propose something to the Senate." As a candidate in 2016, President Trump made investments in the nation's ruined infrastructure a key part of his campaign. After winning the White House, DeFazio said Trump had been under the influence of advisers who had told him that big projects could be financed by selling infrastructure to private companies and attracting private capital. "It could work in very few places," said DeFazio, "and not solve any of our major national problems." [Senate Democrats push for $500 billion in infrastructure investment] These advisers no longer work in the administration. Following Tuesday's midterm elections, when the Democrats won control of the House, DeFazio was questioned to find out if he thought Trump was sincere and wanted to inject money into the infrastructure. "Yes," he says. Then he explained, "Trump is a builder. He gets it, "said DeFazio. "The president received it as a candidate. He was derailed by the [economic advisers] DeFazio also refused to rule out a return to the reserves, a process in which members funded pet projects in their districts, bypassing the Ministry of Transport or other federal agencies that normally control such projects. funding. The pressure to invest billions – DeFazio suggested $ 500 billion – in infrastructure comes less than a year after the Republican Congress passed a massive tax cut that is expected to add more than $ 1 trillion to the 10-year deficit. DeFazio said the White House "had his finger in the wind" and sent an emissary to meet with him before the election on Tuesday. "I hope we could have [an infrastructure] in six months, before we switch to the foolishness of the presidential election year, "said DeFazio. [Trump promised $1 trillion for infrastructure, but the estimated need is $4.5 trillion] After 31 years in Congress, DeFazio said he knew "there is a myriad of ways" to finance transportation. "It must be real," he said. "We will not pretend, like asset recycling, we will not do a massive privatization." He suggested a way to allow the sale of bonds for the improvement of infrastructure of roads, highways, bridges and public transport, with sufficient funds. be reimbursed by indexing the federal tax on gasoline and diesel. "In my only meeting with President Trump, said DeFazio, he talked about a substantial increase in the use charges – the tax on gasoline. The president will have to be fully involved if we want to move on. [a gas tax increase] In the Senate, said DeFazio, transportation costs should be funded by a system that taxes vehicles based on the number of kilometers traveled. "It will not be what we are going to do this year, but it could well play in the reauthorization in 2020," he said. The current transport bill, which expires in 2020, is not fully funded. DeFazio said that the absence of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan would facilitate the search for a consensus. The Republican of Wisconsin did not seek re-election. "Paul was ideologically opposed to a federal investment in infrastructure," said DeFazio. "He agreed with the philosophy that if it was worth it, the private sector will do it." DeFazio said the Transporation Committee would strengthen the review of Trump's Department of Transportation, an agency headed by Secretary Elaine Chao, a complicated affair at Capitol Hill because she is the wife of the Majority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). "There is a bipartisan concern on the hill that the DOT is slowing down all transit subsidies, and is not spending Republican congress approved funds for public transit," said DeFazio. [Trump’s plan to tap private investors for infrastructure funds worries senators from rural states] He added that the delay was supposed to avoid advancing the Gateway program, a $ 30 billion plan including the construction of a new Amtrak tunnel in New York and the rehabilitation of existing tunnels. The Earmarks, banned when the Republicans took control of Congress in 2011, were often described as a fat that made the body work, as it allowed for the sale of a prized district project on horseback in exchange for money. vote on an unrelated matter. "This is a discussion we will have," said DeFazio to the question of whether the subscription letters could come back. "This is a discussion that we will have internally in the [Democratic] caucus. I will not go ahead on my caucus. Earmarks fell into disuse, in part because of the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," a $ 398 million project listed in a federal transportation bill by two Alaska Republicans, Sen. Ted Stevens and Representative Don Young. The Ketchikan Bridge, which would have served a small airport and about 50 residents, has never been built. In January, Trump asked if a return to commitments could make Congress a more friendly place. "Our system lends itself well to not getting things done, and I hear a lot about assignments – the old assignment allocation system – how great the usability was when you had assignments, "said Trump at his January meeting with congressional leaders. "But of course, they had other problems with the brands. But maybe you should all start thinking about going back to some form of trademark. ".

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