Congressman Don Young Releases Consensus-Driven Framework to Revitalize and Strengthen America’s Infrastructure
Former House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman’s plan arrives following breakdown of negotiations between the White House and the Senate.
Washington, June 10, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Alaska Congressman Don Young, former Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, released an infrastructure framework designed to earn bipartisan support and bolster America’s infrastructure for years to come. Upon rolling out his plan, Congressman Young released the following statement:
“This week, talks between the White House and my Senate colleagues have broken down. This impasse appears not only to be over the definition and price tag of an infrastructure package, but also over how to pay for it. I understand that this is a sensitive topic, but I am prepared to have this conversation. The Congress should not move forward via the budget reconciliation process, and it is my hope that President Biden will not give up on negotiations.
As former Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, we secured a bipartisan deal and enacted a landmark surface transportation bill; I know how to get this done. This country NEEDS an infrastructure package. I want my colleagues in the House and Senate to know that infrastructure investment is an existential issue for our economy's long-term strength. Without strong infrastructure, our global competitiveness is on the line. We must not risk falling behind the rest of the world.
We cannot and should not take a near-term cycle to cycle approach to infrastructure. "Infrastructure Week" has become a punchline, and with each passing year, Americans across the country lose hope for smart, targeted investments in their communities. We need an approach that meets the needs of our modern economy, respects the authority of Congress to raise and spend tax payer dollars, and puts our core transportation programs on sustainable financial footing.
It is important to remember that Congress is not a stranger to the definition of infrastructure. This institution regularly passes and enacts bills, such as Surface Transportation Reauthorization legislation. When I was Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, we passed the landmark SAFETEA-LU bill. In recent years, the Water Resources Development Act and the Farm Bill – infrastructure bills in many ways – have made it through Congress. This is a topic that we as a legislative body are familiar with, and should be able to forge consensus over.
All too often, Congress is presented with a false choice: that there must be one great big "infrastructure bill" that is all-encompassing or that we should for some reason do nothing at all - we cannot fall victim to this illusion. There must be a middle ground with an understanding that this bill isn't the last great gasp of bipartisanship on this subject.
I do agree that in the wake of a crisis like COVID-19, federal spending can support economic recovery and address vulnerabilities in society, such as broadband access. Still, we cannot forget that the federal government has already spent $6 trillion to address the pandemic, with hundreds of billions of those dollars still yet to be spent.
However, I do believe there is a way forward, and today I am submitting my own infrastructure framework. I call on my friends in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle to seriously consider my proposals. I'm ready to do serious work on behalf of Americans in every corner of our country.”
Topline Infrastructure Spending: $1.25 trillion broken down into the following components:
Surface Transportation Reauthorization Legislation (Roads, Bridges, Safety, Transit, and Rail) - $500 billion
Supplemental Appropriations for Infrastructure Investments (Airports, Ports & Waterways, Water Infrastructure, Electrical Generation & Grid Modernization, Broadband, and Congressionally Directed Project Spending) - $750 billion