Buttigieg: 'Now’s our chance' for infrastructure plan

3

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday that President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan would pay for itself while upgrading infrastructure from decades past.

"Right now, we’re still coasting off of infrastructure choices that were made in the 1950s," Buttigieg said on NBC’s "Meet the Press." "Now’s our chance to make infrastructure choices for the future that are going to serve us well in the 2030s and on into the middle of the century."

Biden unveiled a $2 trillion proposal Wednesday designed to transform America’s infrastructure over the next eight years. Asked about concerns over the plan’s price tag, Buttigieg said the plan would pay for itself in 15 years and begin to reduce the deficit in 16 years.

"Across 15 years, it would raise all of the revenue needed for these once-in-a-lifetime investments," he said. "So by year 16, you’d actually see this package working to reduce the deficit."

Buttigieg added that his vision for the plan would improve the country’s infrastructure ranking, which currently sits at 13th place among other nations, according to Statista. (Singapore is first; the U.S. ranks between the United Arab Emirates and Belgium.)

"By 2035, America will be much more economically competitive," he said. "We’ll be stronger in terms of leading the world because of the research and development investments that are here. And we will be on track to avoid climate disaster because of the provisions for things like electric vehicles."

When asked about whether Biden would still sign the measure if it doesn’t pay for itself, Buttigieg said the decision is "above my paygrade."

"What I’ll say is we’ve got a great proposal for how we can do this that is responsible, that keeps the American economy competitive," he said. "But if there are other ideas, now’s a great time to hear them."

Buttigieg also said the president wants to make the plan a bipartisan effort, even as Republicans push back on the plan’s price tag. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), for instance, said on "Meet the Press" that he supports infrastructure improvement but added: "I don’t want to do it by raising taxes and cutting jobs for Americans."

"Well, the president really believes in a bipartisan approach, and it’s one of the reasons that I’m constantly having conversations with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, gathering ideas," Buttigieg said. "But the president also has a clear vision, and, as he said, this has to get done."

View original post