If President Donald Trump wants to spend big on America’s infrastructure, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and other Democratic leaders are offering their plan: $1 trillion, with money included possibly for Florida rail, seaports, highways and Everglades restoration.
Nelson and the Democrats unveiled their “A Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure” Tuesday afternoon, proposing $1 trillion in spending over the next ten years.
Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee and a key sponsor of the proposal, said in a news release issued by his office that, if approved, the plan would likely fund several important projects in Florida.
Specifically, Nelson said the plan includes $180 billion to improve and expand bus and rail systems, which could be used to restore Amtrak service along Florida’s Gulf Coast and extend SunRail service in Orlando. It also includes $10 billion to modernize ports and waterways, which could be used to speed up repairs being made to the Herbert Hoover Dike needed for Everglades restoration, and deepen the seaports in Jacksonville and Ft. Lauderdale to accommodate the new mega ships coming through the expanded Panama Canal, and $210 billion to fix crumbling roads and bridges.
The plan also provides, among other things, $30 billion for airport improvements, $10 billion to construct new U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and $75 billion to modernize public schools.
“Florida is growing at a rate of nearly 1,000 people per day,” Nelson stated in the release. “You can imagine the toll that’s taking on our state’s infrastructure. This is our chance to make some much-needed repairs and create millions of new jobs in the process.”
He and the Democrats also claim their plan would spur 15 million jobs in construction, and they call for specific protections for American workers and goods, with recommendations that the program have:
– “Buy America” provisions to use American products.
– Strong protections for workers, including Davis-Bacon prevailing wages.
– Strengthened participation of minority- and women-owned businesses.
– Accelerated project delivery while adhering to important environmental protections.
It also calls for “closing tax loopholes used by corporations and super- wealthy individuals to offset associated costs.”
The plan would set aside $100 billion for reconstruction of roads and bridges; $100 billion for revitalizing Main Street; $10 billion for expanding the TIGER local transportation grants program; $110 billion for rehabilitating water and sewer infrastructure; $50 billion to modernize rail; $130 billion to repair and expand transit; $200 billion for “vital infrastructure;’ $75 billion for public schools; $30 billion for airports; $10 billion for seaports and waterways; $25 billion to build “resilient communities;” $100 billion for “21st century energy infrastructure;” $10 billion to expand broadband; $20 billion for public lands and tribal infrastructure; $10 billion for VA hospitals; and $10 billion to provide innovative financing tools.