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Everyone in the Federal Government Seems to Want a New Infrastructure Bill

Deborah Fisher has proposed a highway bill, Chuck Schumer wrote an infrastructure bill, and Donald Trump campaigned on the issue. The shape the final bill will take is still in flux.
February 10, 2017, 7am PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Orhan Cam

Nebraska Senator Deborah Fischer's relatively small legislation on highway funding is born in an interesting era for infrastructure funding. It came a week into the presidency of Donald Trump, who made a characteristically big promise of a trillion dollars in infrastructure. It also came a week after Schumer wrote a bill attempting to call the president's bluff on his claim that he would create a trillion dollars of new infrastructure.

Fisher meanwhile has created a bill to take on a smaller issue. Traditionally, highways have been maintained through gas taxes. But, over the years, politicians have found it politically untenable to raise those taxes or even peg them to inflation. "Her Build USA Infrastructure Act would divert $21.4 billion annually for five years in order to plug the projected money shortfalls in the fund," Melanie Zanona writes for The Hill.

Democrats have often campaigned on infrastructure spending, but Fischer's bill forwards some conservative priorities like increasing state power. "The legislation also aims to get transportation projects off the ground quicker by allowing states to exchange some of their federal highway funding for greater regulatory control over how transportation projects are approved under federal standards," Zanona reports.

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Published on Thursday, February 2, 2017 in The Hill
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