WASHINGTON—Beating President Trump to the punch, Senate Democrats unveiled a 10-year, $1 trillion infrastructure improvement plan at a Jan 24 press conference.
The proposal, titled "Blueprint to Rebuild America's Infrastructure," offers a program to rebuild roads, bridges, railways, water systems, broadband networks, Veterans Administration hospitals, schools and airports across the U.S., according to a press release from the office of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Sanders quoted the American Society of Civil Engineers as saying the U.S. must spend $1.6 trillion above current levels to repair the nation's infrastructure.
"President Trump campaigned on rebuilding the infrastructure," he said. "Let's do it, but let's do it in a way that does not provide huge tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country and to the largest corporations."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also said Senate Democrats would hold Trump to his infrastructure promises.
"Today, we Senate Democrats are building a blueprint to rebuild America's infrastructure and create 15 million jobs, and we're challenging President Trump to support our plan," Schumer said.
"He campaigned on a promise of bigger and better infrastructure," he said. "This plan is a way to make it happen."
Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch, a blogger at the Alliance for American Manufacturing, quoted a study from Duke University's Center on Globalization, Governance and Competitiveness that said annual investment of $114 billion has the potential to create 2.5 million jobs.
"The Democrats are obviously making a political play here, arguing that congressional Republicans have been the ones to block infrastructure spending plans," Brotherton-Bunch said. "But they also are right in pointing out that President Trump did promise to spend a trillion dollars to rebuild America's infrastructure."
In a statement, the United Steelworkers union praised the Democrats' infrastructure plan as "a necessary and bold approach to rebuild America's crumbling infrastructure."
The union's statement also noted that the infrastructure issue may be one where Republicans, along with the new administration, could work together with Democrats. This proposal may be the start, it said.
"Democrats are coming to the table with a comprehensive, forward-looking proposal that can serve as the basis for making America's infrastructure the envy of the world," the USW statement said. "The public is hoping that the logjam in Congress can be broken in order to create the 21st century infrastructure that is so sorely needed."