Infrastructure – Part 1: Republican Senatorial Plan

Apr 28, 2021 by

Infrastructure – Part 1:

Republican Senatorial Plan

By Henry W. Burke

4.29.21

The infrastructure in America is crumbling and sorely in need of repair.  When bridges collapse and lives are lost, attention is focused (at least temporarily) on U.S. bridges.  A notable example is the I-35 Bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, MN.  When the bridge suddenly collapsed in August 2007, some 13 people were killed and 145 were injured! 

When the Oroville Dam Spillway failed in February 2017 in Northern California, it forced the mandatory evacuation of 188,000 residents below Oroville Dam!  A massive effort was launched to totally replace the aging Oroville Dam Main Spillway and strengthen the Emergency Spillway.  This Oroville failure caused the entire nation to focus on dam safety.

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) issues a Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.  This Report Card depicts the condition of U.S. Infrastructure in a form like a school report card, assigning letter grades to each category of infrastructure. 

For 2021, the results were rather poor.  Grades ranged from a low of D- for Public Transit to a high of B for Railroads.  Roads received a D grade and Bridges earned a C grade.  Airports had a D+ and Dams received a D score.  The list of ASCE scores for the key categories is given in Table 1-RC below:

Table 1-RC — ASCE 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure

CategoryASCEScoreFunding Backlog($ Billions)
Roads      D      786
Bridges      C      125
Public Transit      D-      176
Railroads      B        45
Airports      D+      237
Ports      B-      163
Inland Waterways      D+          7
Drinking Water      C-      434*
Stormwater      D       —
Wastewater      D+       —
Dams      D        28
Broadband     —        —
  Total Infrastructure Need $2,001 Billion

Notes:

* Funding Backlog includes: Water, Stormwater, and Wastewater

Source:

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) “2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure”

To clarify the definition of “Infrastructure,” the following list is provided:

Infrastructure Includes:

Roads and Bridges

Road Safety

Public Transit

Railroads

Airports

Ports and Inland Waterways

Drinking Water, Water Storage & Wastewater

Broadband

In response to the ASCE Report Card and the Biden Infrastructure Plan, the Republican Senate Committees developed a counter proposal.  Table 2-R lists the following spending amounts for the Infrastructure categories:

Table 2-R — GOP Republican Senatorial Plan

DescriptionAmount($ Billions)
Roads and Bridges    299
Road Safety      13
Public Transit      61
Railroads      20
Airports      44
Ports and Inland Waterways      17
Drinking Water, Water Storage & Wastewater      49
Broadband      65
  Total  $568 Billion

Source:

“The Republican Roadmap: A Framework to Improve the Nation’s Infrastructure,” $568 Billion over five years

Republican Senatorial Committees: Environment and Public Works, Energy and Natural Resources, Commerce, Banking, and Finance Committees

https://www.epw.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/f/b/fb56e9d2-5c5b-45c9-8491-9b82c81a2371/8ECCF625FDADCA9F4E365C1D355D9D42.full-document-gop-infrastructure-plan-6-.pdf

How does the Republican Infrastructure Plan compare with the Biden-Democrat Plan?  Table 3-C shows the comparison between the two plans.  The most notable difference is in spending for Roads and Bridges.  The GOP Plan has $299 Billion for Roads and Bridges, while the Democrats have $115 Billion for this category.

Table 3-C – Comparison Between GOP and Biden Infrastructure Plans

DescriptionGOPAmount($ Billions)Biden-Dem.Amount($ Billions)
Roads and Bridges    299    115
Road Safety      13      20
Public Transit      61      85
Railroads      20      80
Airports      44      25
Ports and Inland Waterways      17      17
Drinking Water, Water Storage & Wastewater      49    111
Broadband      65    100
  Total  $568 Billion  $553 Billion

Source:

“Fact Sheet: The American Jobs Plan” — The White House, 3.31.21

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/31/fact-sheet-the-american-jobs-plan/

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