FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 12, 2018
Contact: Mary Melchior, Campaign Manager
White House Infrastructure Plan Shifts Cost to Middle Class; Republican War on Working People Continues
LOWER MAKEFIELD, PA — Steve Bacher, Democratic candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 1st District, released the following statement today: “Democrats have been fighting for a major investment in our roads, bridges, energy grid and IT infrastructure for years, to be paid for by a tax system where the wealthiest pay their fair share. The White House plan, endorsed by Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, ups the ante in the ongoing war on working people being waged by the Republican Congress and Trump Administration. It shifts the cost onto middle class and poorer working families through higher state and local tax increases and higher tolls. When will Fitzpatrick stand up for the hard-working people of the 1st District, and demand that the wealthiest 1% in our nation pay their fair share, as they did when our national highway system was first built?”
Fitzpatrick and Trump propose to pay 13% of the cost with federal dollars: $200 billion of an overwhelming need that is greater than the $1.5 trillion they expect to leverage. They expect the other $1.3 trillion to come from:
- Increased State and Local Taxes on Working People - increased taxes which won’t be deductible under the rules of the Republicans’ disastrous new tax law.
- Higher Road and Bridge tolls through Public-Private Partnerships - selling public assets to the rich so they can charge mostly poor and middle class people higher tolls just to get to work. The Republican Congress cut taxes for the richest 1%; now they also want to give the super-rich our roads and bridges so working people can pay higher tolls to big corporations, instead of reasonable tolls to the government at not-for-profit rates.
- Increased gas taxes - the gas tax has not kept up with inflation, and does need to be gradually increased, but only when the wealthiest Americans are asked to pay their fair share as well.
“We used to have the finest infrastructure in the world. It was universally understood to be essential to building a strong economy,” Bacher said. “Now we pay more every year to repair damage to our cars from potholes and avoidable accidents due to bad roads than a gradually increasing gas tax would ever cost. Now our infrastructure is rated 23rd in the world, and many of our roads and bridges are structurally deficient, including two important bridges here in the 1st District.
“The Federal government built our infrastructure back when the rich paid their fair share. The Republicans promise working people lower taxes, but they only really lower them on the super-rich. Middle class families may get a few dollars back in taxes this year, but poorly maintained roads will cost us more in payments to our mechanics and lost time at work.
“We need to re-establish a fair tax system, and rebuild our infrastructure, creating good, well-paying jobs, and saving every traveler money and time.”
Infrastructure in Pennsylvania and states across the country is deteriorating. The most recent report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a D+. The 2016 World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report ranked the United States tenth in the world in infrastructure quality, down from fifth place in 2002. Other organizations rank the U.S. even lower.
“We are risking lives and livelihoods with inadequate roads, bridges and water systems every day,” said Bacher. “Why wouldn’t the people profiting the most from using those roads want to pay their fair share? President Dwight Eisenhower and the Federal government built American infrastructure by applying the cost fairly across society. Today, the U.S. is spending less on infrastructure as a percentage of GDP than at any time in the past twenty years and our nation is less competitive as a result.”