March 8, 2018

Whitehouse Applauds Job-Creating Infrastructure Plan to Upgrade Roads and Bridges, Bolster Coastline

Senate Democrats’ proposal includes investment in Whitehouse’s coastal infrastructure fund, bridge repair legislation

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today applauded a trillion-dollar job-creating infrastructure proposal unveiled by Senate Democratic leadership, which would make major investments in upgrading crumbling roads and bridges and bolstering Rhode Island’s coastline.  The plan, which is estimated to create 15 million jobs, contains $25 billion for resiliency programs that include the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund developed by Whitehouse.  The proposal also includes the Bridge Investment Act, which Whitehouse sponsored to invest $40 billion in bridge repairs over ten years.

“Tax cuts for billionaires won’t boost the economy.  What Rhode Islanders need instead is major federal investment to upgrade our infrastructure, from roads and bridges to our kids’ schools and along our hundreds of miles of coastline.  Just last week, our region was pounded by a powerful storm that caused flooding and damage along the coast,” said Whitehouse, who authored legislation establishing the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund to, among other purposes, make coastal communities more resilient to natural disasters and the changing climate.  “It has been frustrating to watch Republican infrastructure promises fall apart, so we stepped up with a plan that will support local businesses, create good construction jobs, and strengthen communities¾efficiently and sustainably.” 

The new proposal builds on a trillion-dollar infrastructure improvement blueprint released last year by Senate Democrats.  Highlights of the proposal include $140 billion to repair roads and bridges, $50 billion for school renovations, $30 billion to upgrade ports and waterways, and $10 billion to expand the TIGER Grant Program.

The proposal would be largely funded through the repeal of a number of tax cuts for the wealthy that Republicans pushed through Congress late last year.  For example, the plan would return the top individual tax rate to 39.6 percent and set the corporate tax rate at 25 percent.

Fixing Rhode Island’s crumbling infrastructure and creating jobs has long been a top priority for Whitehouse.  As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Whitehouse helped author legislation that boosted highway and transit funding for Rhode Island, bringing the state over $1.3 billion in federal funds between 2016 and 2020.  Whitehouse also had a key role in creating the INFRA Grant Program, which is authorized to provide $4.5 billion in funding for transformative freight and highway projects.

American Road & Transportation Builders Association this year ranked the condition of Rhode Island’s bridges last out of the 50 states, with about 23 percent of more than a thousand bridges ranked “structurally deficient.”  Earlier this week, Rhode Island was selected for a $20 million TIGER grant to rebuild 15 of the bridges that encompass Route 37 in Cranston and Warwick.

A summary of the Democrats’ full proposal is available here.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921