Problem Solvers Unveil Plan to Break Infrastructure Logjam

June 9, 2021 by Dan McCue
Toll Booths at the New Jersey Turnpike (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The Problem Solvers Caucus released a new, $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal Wednesday, aiming to break the partisan gridlock that has so far stymied any kind of deal between the White House and Capitol Hill.

The plan put forward by the bipartisan caucus was crafted by Reps. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., and John Katko, R-N.Y.

According to the 58-member group, the eight-year proposal “would address the enormous need for new infrastructure and the current backlog of deferred maintenance to build a strong, successful 21st Century infrastructure network for America, invest in American jobs, and grow the nation’s economy.”

Problem Solvers’ co-chair, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., said his group was inspired to act by the belief that it’s critically important to get a robust infrastructure package signed into law with strong bipartisan support.

“The Problem Solvers Caucus framework — Building Bridges — does exactly that and tackles everything from electric vehicles to clean water to fixing our crumbling bridges, tunnels, roads, and rail. This is the model for how we should govern in Washington: Democrats and Republicans working together to find common ground,” Gottheimer said.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., the Problem Solvers’ Republican co-chair, was equally emphatic that the time has come for Congress and the Biden administration to reach across the aisle, “and boost investments … that will move our transportation systems into the 21st century.”

“The Problem Solvers Caucus has worked tirelessly to put together this bipartisan framework that is both responsive to local needs and worthy of the public’s trust,” he continued. “Infrastructure investment can and will deliver real benefits to every American and additionally, has the unique power to unite us as a nation. An investment in our roads, rails, bridges, IT infrastructure, and electrical grid is an investment in our nation, our economy, and our families.”

The Building Bridges framework calls for funding the following key categories:

  • Highways, Roads, Safety, and Bridges
  • Designated Community Restoration Projects
  • Transit
  • Electric Vehicles and Buses
  • Amtrak, Passenger, and Freight Rail
  • Airports
  • Waterways and Ports
  • Resiliency Funds and Nature-based Infrastructure
  • Veterans’ Housing 
  • Broadband
  • Drinking-Water, Wastewater, and Western Water Storage 
  • Energy
  • Remediation of Superfund Sites
  • Asset Recycling

Read the Building Bridges Infrastructure Framework here and the Section-by-Section here.

“We are trying to rebuild America, for all Americans, and getting both parties on board means that our bridges, locks, dams, power lines, and vehicle chargers will get started and finished no matter who is in power. What matters most is getting this work done,” Lamb said.

Katko, meanwhile, a longtime champion of working across the aisle, stressed the bipartisan, consensus-driven nature of the proposal.

“Developed with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, this framework contains truly bipartisan policies that can form the basis for a comprehensive package to modernize our nation’s infrastructure systems,” he said.

The endorsement of the proposal is the third proactive effort by the bipartisan group to help advance bipartisan infrastructure discussions. 

In April, the Caucus released the Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure report to help define the scope of a bipartisan infrastructure agreement and sent a letter to President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg, and Congressional leaders calling on them to promote a bipartisan path forward on infrastructure.

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