Don Young releases infrastructure framework he hopes gets bipartisan support - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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Don Young releases infrastructure framework he hopes gets bipartisan support

Alaska Congressman Don Young released an infrastructure framework on Thursday that he hopes will earn bipartisan support and bolster America’s infrastructure for years to come.

“This week, talks between the White House and my Senate colleagues have broken down. This impasse appears not only to be over the definition and price tag of an infrastructure package, but also over how to pay for it. I understand that this is a sensitive topic, but I am prepared to have this conversation. The Congress should not move forward via the budget reconciliation process, and it is my hope that President Biden will not give up on negotiations,” Young said.

Young’s plan would spend $1.25 trillion on these components:

Surface Transportation Reauthorization Legislation (Roads, Bridges, Safety, Transit, and Rail) – $500 billion

  • The current authorization expires at the end of this fiscal year. Congress should negotiate and pass a bipartisan 5-year surface transportation reauthorization through regular order that provides long term solvency for the Highway Trust Fund.
  • The bill should include a onetime increase to the federal motor fuel excise tax for gasoline and diesel to account for post-1993 inflation, and index it to the CPI thereafter.
    • Part of the controversy over how much to invest and where to invest in our nation’s transportation system will be alleviated by putting the Highway Trust Fund on a trajectory for long term solvency.
    • According to the Congressional Budget Office, beginning in FY 2008, and in each subsequent fiscal year to date, Highway Trust Fund outlays have exceeded revenues received. As a result, Congress has transferred approximately $157 billion to the fund from the general fund of the Treasury and other sources.
  • The bill should address the issue of electric vehicles by requiring that the Department of Transportation study and implement the phasing in of a user fee for passenger and commercial electric vehicles over a period of five years. 
  • Additionally, the bill should require that DOT study and implement a plan for how gas, diesel, and alternative fuel vehicles should be transitioned away from the fuel excise tax to a user fee over a period of no more than 10 years. 
  • The bill should also include project financing along with delivery and permitting reforms to ensure that additional federal investments are not mired in bureaucracy and litigation.
  • Addressing the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund will give users and states long-term certainty to finance projects and plan investments.

Supplemental Appropriations for Infrastructure Investments (Airports, Ports & Waterways, Water Infrastructure, Electrical Generation & Grid Modernization, Broadband, and  Congressionally Directed Project Spending) – $750 billion

  • Both the Republican Roadmap and the American Jobs Plan have not met a middle ground on the amount of new federal spending and how to pay for it. Young says his framework seeks to find this middle ground.
  • The bill should include an increase in the corporate tax rate, excluding small and family owned businesses, to offset some of the cost of this additional spending. The rate increase would be limited to no more than a 4% increase to a rate of 25%.
    • Small and family owned businesses will be exempted from this increase.
    • Congress should recognize that there is wisdom in the “user pays user benefits” principle. Corporations benefit from and are users of America’s infrastructure. The benefits of a modernized national transportation system over the long term will outweigh the costs of a rate increase.
  • Congress should allocate a portion of the $750 billion for congressionally directed spending on projects in their states and home districts.
    • Members of Congress are closest to their constituencies and understand their needs better than the federal government agencies that currently award federal infrastructure monies through existing formulas or competitive grant programs.
    • The return of Community Project Funding in the FY22 Appropriations Process and Member Designated Projects for the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill have drawn significant interest from members and when paired with strong disclosure and ethics requirements these are a valuable and way to demonstrate the value of federal investment in member’s districts.  

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, a group of 10 senators will begin negotiating with President Joe Biden, who wants infrastructure money to pay for day care and elder care, which have never before been considered infrastructure.

Read Murkowski and 9 senators take infrastructure plan to White House

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Bi-partisan support for Don Young means a billionaire on one side of the hiway and a billionaire on the other side of the highway, and Don is getting federal funds to build two off-ramps to both billionaire’s new shopping malls. Comes in handy during campaign contribution time. He ain’t called the Dean for nuthin.

  • No dice Don. You want us to switch to electric cars, to save the planet, and now you want us to pay a gas tax when we don’t even use gas. How stupid do you think we are Don? We already paid taxes for the government to maintain our roads. Why are you wanting to double taxes? Has your memory become age affected?

  • Now that Ballot Measure 2 passed, Don Young feels free to come out as the Democrat he is

  • Nice attempt to make nice and get something done… One problem: when you compromise with bullsh*t you get messy and smelly. Try figuring out where all this electricity is going to come from and technology advances to make electric cars as practical as gasoline powered – and how they are going to work in Alaska in winter. I’m not giving up my F350, and if I can’t buy reasonably priced gas, there will be a lawsuit.

  • RICH THORNE, just like the old VW Bug, in winter you will need a gasoline fired heater (and likely a fire extinguisher). Ah, the good old days.

  • RICH THORNE, one gallon of diesel will push my F350 15-20 miles at 65 mph, 10 miles pulling a trailer with gross of 25k pounds (and keep me warm). When electrical can reach that kind of energy storage in 231 cubic inches (a gallon) then it may compete. Until then it is nothing but an essentially bottomless government heavily subsidized boondoggle transferring money from working productive people to rich greenies to make them feel good about themselves. Smug Alert!

  • Members of Congress are closest to their constituencies and understand their needs better than the federal government agencies that currently award federal infrastructure monies through existing formulas or competitive grant programs.
    This is the special interest clause. And many don’t listen to their constituents, look at Lisa murkowski for one.

  • I’ll not vote for Dan Sullivan or Don Young again until something is done about our elections and the white hate CRT.

  • No Alaska politician has monitized his political career better than Don Young. He talks big bucks to the trade unions and developers, small bucks to his conservative followers, and just plain dirty mouth talk to high schoolers. Why do Alaskans really put up with 50 years of this guy?

  • ELLEN, we put up with him because, sadly, he has become a smooth talking slick politician who can bamboozle most of the people most of the time, and he’s the best we’ve had at doing that. You might rather we have goofy Alyse?

  • Don Young is a typical politician…always wanting to take more from us to pay for their grand plans. Increase taxation and institute new user fees. Hit the corporations again with a higher tax…as if corporations don’t just pass the extra cost onto us, consumers.
    How about this, Don…
    …end foreign aid and maybe we should ask all the other nations whose infrastructure and other costs we’ve been funding for repayment.
    …end welfare and government funded social services. It is not a legitimate function of government to take money from those who’ve earned it to give to those who did not earn it just because they live a low income life – the lifestyle they’ve earned for themselves.
    Just those two items will fund all the infrastructure we need.
    Then, Don, you can get busy cutting other government spending that isn’t going to defense or other essential government services.

  • I went to Webster’s and looked-up the definition of “term limits.” Whadayouknow. There was Don Young’s picture, holding money in each hand. Below the picture was the synonym: “screw you.”

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