GOP senators float $600-800 billion infrastructure counteroffer

Republican senators Tuesday discussed a counterproposal to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, likely coming in at $600 billion to $800 billion and paid for with user fees and unspent Covid relief money.

The plan: Two people who attended Tuesday’s GOP lunch said the plan, spearheaded by Environment and Public Works ranking member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) on behalf of a group of centrist Republicans, would cost roughly $600 billion to $800 billion, depending how many years the plan lasted. One of the sources was more specific, putting the plan estimate between $550 billion and $880 billion. The latter number would be for an eight-year plan, the same duration as Biden’s $2.2 trillion proposal.

POLITICO reported last week that Republicans were preparing an infrastructure counteroffer in the $600 billion to $800 billion range.

The pay-for: Capito proposed paying for the plan with user fees that would extend to electric and hydrogen-powered cars, which don’t pay gas taxes but which as yet make up a vanishingly small minority of vehicles on the road, and with money left over from the Covid relief package, people in the meeting said. Public-private partnerships would also be a component of the plan.

The reception to the counteroffer was positive among Republicans, the meeting attendees said. Capito’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

What’s next: Biden on Monday challenged Republicans to bring him an alternative proposal, complete with a way to pay for it, by mid-May.

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