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Wed May 1, 2019, 10:23 PM

Politicians Like To Talk About Infrastructure, But Klobuchar Is The Only 2020 Candidate With A Real


There’s one other thing you should know about Klobuchar: She has an idea that could save you money, shorten your commute, help fight climate change, create well-paying jobs and redeem one of Donald Trump's broken promises. The Democratic presidential candidate has made spending $1 trillion on public works the off-the-blocks proposal of her campaign. It doesn’t have the sex appeal of Medicare for All, the New Green Deal or other talking points that goose squeals of delight from progressive crowds. Fixing our decrepit roads, bridges, power grid and water systems? Stolidly dull to many.

But unlike those flashier plans, this one’s eminently doable. Indeed, unlike Trump, Klobuchar has the details filled in, which means she can be believed when she marks this as her top budget priority should she win the White House. Her temperament is a legitimate concern in a potential president; her infrastructure plan is a legitimate credit to her qualifications.

The first 2020 candidate to front-burner this issue, Klobuchar’s proposed spending would be a little more than one-fourth the total needed through 2025 to maintain and adequately improve the nation’s metal-and-concrete skeleton, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The senator would have Uncle Sam cover $650 billion of the cost, three-and-a-half times what Trump promised last year in his “plan” (more like squiggles on a napkin, as it skimped on dollars and details). Klobuchar would pay for it by borrowing the funds and a new federal infrastructure bank. She’d also raise the corporate tax rate to 25 percent and impose new fees on big banks and firms that ship jobs overseas. You can quibble with this revenue-raiser or that, but you can’t accuse her of ducking the hard decisions about paying for her program.


Klobuchar’s plan includes improved public transit, which not only decreases traffic, but keeps greenhouse-gas emitting cars off the road. For all the grab-bag dubiousness of the Green New Deal, its infrastructure component -- greener mass transit, a power grid for distributing renewable energy, replacing lead pipes and more flood-resistant bridges, among other things — shows what infrastructure upgrades, done right, can do for the environment. Not to mention for employment. When he proposed a similar upgrade in his 2016 campaign, Bernie Sanders estimated the work would create 13 million jobs.


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