Senators Brown, Portman give insight on President's infrastructu - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Senators Brown, Portman give insight on President's infrastructure plan

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Monday urged President Donald Trump to work with Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to address the nation's infrastructure needs, rather than passing the cost on to drivers, cities, and communities through tax hikes and tolls.

The President's long-awaited infrastructure proposal relies on "leveraging" dollars that states and local communities do not have without raising taxes significantly, and would require tolling to attract private investment.  

"I'm ready to work with President Trump to make good on his promise to rebuild American infrastructure. But we accounting gimmicks don't build bridges," said Brown. "We know Ohio communities and workers are already strapped for cash, and we can't simply pass the cost of this infrastructure investment onto drivers, cities, and counties through tolls and local tax hikes." 

Brown and his Democratic colleagues released an infrastructure blueprint last January to identify areas for infrastructure investment, from rural broadband and affordable housing to rebuilding roads and bridges.

Brown also introduced a specific plan for rebuilding the nation's bridges, which Brown hopes will be included in any bipartisan infrastructure deal.

Last month, a new analysis revealed Ohio has 12th highest number of structurally deficient bridges. 

Meanwhile, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) feels differently about the plan.

"The President's infrastructure proposal is a good starting point for discussion and I'm hopeful both parties will work together on this issue. By rebuilding our aging infrastructure and improving job training programs targeted toward in-demand infrastructure-related jobs, we have a great opportunity to further strengthen our economy. I am also glad to see the administration is making infrastructure permitting reform a priority. I've led efforts in the Senate to streamline our permitting process, working to enact FAST-41 so we can rebuild our infrastructure more quickly. With a permitting process that makes sense and operates efficiently, we can put more people back to work, improve our infrastructure, and better protect the environment. I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to develop legislation on these issues in the coming months."

                                                                                                                                                                                                               -Senator Rob Portman

Portman has led efforts in Washington to streamline the federal permitting process.  

Recently, the Trump administration has begun to use the tools authorized by Portman's Federal Permitting Improvement Act, which helps streamline the federal infrastructure permitting process to boost our economy and create jobs.

The bill was enacted into law last Congress as Title 41 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41).

Two weeks ago, the Trump Administration and the state of Louisiana entered into the first memorandum of understanding between the federal government and a state to facilitate the infrastructure permitting process for a project covered by this new law.  

FAST-41 requires that one agency serves as the lead agency for covered projects; all agencies involved in covered projects develop a coordinated permitting timeline at the start of the process, and agencies post the permitting timeline and updates to it on an online Permitting Dashboard throughout the permitting process for each covered project.  

Last September, Portman chaired a Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) hearing on how permitting reform, like FAST-41, will create good-paying jobs across the country. 

Both Brown and Portman will meet with President Trump Tuesday at the White House to discuss steel and trade policy.

The Senators have worked together to push for quick action to address Chinese steel overcapacity, which is threatening Ohio jobs, by completing a Commerce Department investigation known as a "232."

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