McKinley: Democrat Bill “Green New Deal Plan Masquerading as an Infrastructure Package”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative David B. McKinley P.E. (R-W.Va.) issued the following statement after the House passed a so-called “infrastructure” bill (H.R. 2) that focused more on ending fossil fuels than building roads:

“This bill is a radical Green New Deal plan masquerading as an infrastructure package. Instead of working constructively to improve America’s crumbling roads and bridges and create jobs at a time we desperately need them, Speaker Pelosi turned a highway bill that is traditionally bipartisan into a wish list full of far-left policies.

“The Democrats’ ‘my way or the highway bill’ widens the urban-rural divide by shortchanging West Virginia and other rural areas. Instead, 40% of the funding would go to fund Green New Deal initiatives aimed at abolishing fossil fuels. The bill also fails to streamline the permitting process that holds up investments and jobs for years unnecessarily.

“There’s no question we need to invest in our aging roads and bridges and modernize our water and energy infrastructure. Doing so would put millions of Americans back to work. But, a partisan messaging bill that will never become law simply delays these needed investments and adds to the cynicism of the American people,” said Rep. McKinley.

Background:

The bill reauthorizes surface transportation programs for five years at significantly higher funding levels, and it relies on more General Fund transfers to pay for it instead of addressing the Highway Trust Fund’s ongoing solvency issues.

Before the bill came to the floor, it was further weighted down with another $1 trillion in various proposals, many of which were never vetted through the Committee process. The bill:

Prioritizes Green New Deal climate goals over roads and bridges.

  • Increases transit funding by a 72% total over the current level (FAST Act), compared to an approximately 42% increase for highways and bridges.
  • Rail funding receives an approximately 450% increase over the FAST Act.

Spends $2 out of every $5 for Green New Deal goals, either in new programs or the many new green requirements injected throughout existing programs ($23.7 billion in new programs; $200 billion total over 5 years).

Leaves rural America behind with its Green New Deal focus and seismic shift toward urban transportation needs.

  • The bill spends seven times more money ($1.75 billion) to build electric vehicle charging stations than it spends on the “Rebuild Rural” grant program that receives $250 million.
  • Yet, 71% of public road lane-mileage is in rural America, and crashes and fatalities on rural non-Interstate roads occur at more than double the rate as all other roads.

Limits flexibility for states by using a top-down approach.

  • The bill’s “Fix It First” policy places significant restrictions on building new roads.
  • This limits state flexibility to prioritize projects, forcing states to adopt a “worst-to-first” approach, and ignores new construction projects that may have a greater benefit than a maintenance project.

Ignores broad support from labor and business leaders for streamlining the project review process and putting in place reasonable limits and timetables.  

Extends tax credits for wind and solar energy, which places coal and natural gas at a disadvantage.

 

To read bill text, click here.

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