Moran, bi-partisan group to craft infrastructure plan

Margaret Allen
Hays Daily News
Sen. Jerry Moran, left, fist bumps city manager Toby Dougherty, right, while meeting at the Hays Regional Airport on Tuesday.

Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran said Tuesday that he supports major investments in America’s infrastructure, and is part of a bi-partisan group hoping to craft an affordable plan.

Moran made the remarks in Hays on Tuesday, prior to President Joe Biden’s announcement on Wednesday of a $2 trillion American Jobs Plan.

“I’m certainly supportive of additional investment in infrastructure, have been for a long time,” Moran said during a stop at the Hays Regional Airport. “The challenges always come in how it’s paid for. That has yet to be determined.”

Biden’s plan calls for $621 billion for transportation infrastructure; $650 billion for homes, schools, water lines and broadband; $400 billion for affordable care for the elderly and disabled; and $300 billion for research, development and manufacturing.

Biden proposes paying for it by raising the corporate tax rate that President Donald Trump lowered, and with reforms to some business tax breaks. 

Bi-partisan effort

Moran in February, with nine other Republican senators, proposed a slimmer COVID-19 stimulus. But Biden rejected that.

Moran indicated a similar effort might be in the works again.

“So, open-minded,” he said to the small group of city officials, airport employees and pilots who were on hand to meet with him in Hays. “I’m part of a group of 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats who are working to try to find a bi-partisan plan that is something that is affordable, and we’ll see if we can’t be helpful in reaching a conclusion that does invest in infrastructure.”

Solid infrastructure in the form of roads, bridges, highways and airports is important for Kansas in marketing both its agricultural commodities as well as its manufactured goods to the global market, Moran said.

“Infrastructure determines the cost of transportation,” he said. “The cost of transportation has a huge consequence in whether or not what we do here can be sold around the world, in part more so than other places in the country, because we’re in the middle of the country.”

A lot of money

Moran said he would support including investments in broadband and city water works, which go beyond traditional infrastructure like roads, bridges, highways and airports.

“I think we have a lot to gain in investing in infrastructure,” he said. “But how it’s paid for, and how much money we expend at one time, still is really important to me.”

Moran questioned the size of any Biden infrastructure plan, referencing the President’s earlier stimulus, which Moran voted against.

“It does seem to me that $1.9 trillion, and now a $3 or $4 trillion infrastructure bill, we are past the point of what’s affordable, what the country can afford,” said Moran.

“Trillions of dollars are trillions of dollars and it’s significant money that we are borrowing, and has a huge consequence to the current economy and the future economy,” he said, “but also to the next generation of Americans.”