Klobuchar unveils $3T infrastructure plan

Source: Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar today released a $3 trillion infrastructure plan that addresses climate change.

The Minnesota senator’s proposal, unveiled in a Medium post by her campaign, is the first of its kind from the many Democrats hoping to take on President Trump in 2020.

Klobuchar’s infrastructure plan “will be her top budget priority, and she will work to get it done during the first year of her presidency,” the Medium post says.

Notably, the plan seeks to leverage $650 billion in federal funding for infrastructure projects. That’s more than three times the amount Trump requested last year.

Indeed, the president repeatedly urged $200 billion in federal funding last year, only to see talks fizzle on the Hill. This year, Congress is looking to move a broad infrastructure package by late spring despite rampant disagreement over funding options.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has called for any infrastructure bill to include climate change components, and other Democrats have echoed that message in recent weeks (Climatewire, March 11).

To that end, Klobuchar’s plan explicitly addresses climate change, touching on the need for clean energy deployment and resilience.

“Amy’s plan makes a down payment on transforming our economy from one reliant on fossil fuels to one that depends on clean energy,” the Medium post says.

“Amy will also help states and cities plan for the impacts of climate change by building stronger, more resilient transportation networks and public infrastructure to withstand rising sea levels, a changing climate and extreme weather.”

In addition, the proposal would see the repair of roads and bridges, the improvement of public transit systems serving low-income populations, and the modernization of wastewater treatment systems to ensure clean drinking water.

It also focuses on expanding broadband internet for rural populations, with the goal of connecting every American household to the internet by 2022.

“America needs someone who will deliver on their promises and get things done for this country,” Klobuchar said. “This plan is about bringing our country together. Building bridges is not just a metaphor — this is what I’ve done and what I will continue to do as president.”

The proposal comes as Midwest communities reel from some of the worst flooding in decades. The plan also seeks to improve flood protection for those communities, something the Minnesotan is expected to discuss during a campaign stop in Iowa this week.

After Klobuchar announced her presidential bid in the middle of a snowstorm, Trump mocked her on Twitter as a “snowman” and again sought to challenge mainstream climate science.

That didn’t stop the senator from continuing to talk about climate change, including at an event in Florida focused on rising temperatures in the key voting state.

Klobuchar has faced criticism from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, however, for offering tepid support for the Green New Deal. She has said she views the resolution as “aspirational” and potentially unachievable in the next 10 years.

Similar to the other Democratic presidential contenders in the Senate, Klobuchar voted “present” on the Green New Deal resolution earlier this week. Many criticized the vote as a political stunt by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to sow discord among Democrats (Climatewire, March 27).