Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH) wants a major investment in infrastructure to fix roads, bridges, highways, and airports. There’s just the small matter of how to pay for it.
In a Newark Advocate op-ed published on Sunday, Balderson wrote, “It’s time to invest in our nation’s infrastructure.”
He notes that the issue is of bipartisan concern and that he hopes the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on which he serves, can play a role by “repairing our crumbling roads, bridges, and highways.”
He adds that he hopes it can “improve airport infrastructure and modernize our airspace,” and “find a solution to ensure the Highway Trust Fund’s solvency.”
“My colleagues and I agree that now is the time to invest in our infrastructure, for its longevity, for our economy, and to better the lives of all Americans,” he concludes. The Twitter feed for the committee’s Republican minority office tweeted out his “Infrastructure Week op-ed” on Monday.
"Infrastructure is an issue we can all agree on: we need to invest in our nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, and highways." – @RepBalderson https://t.co/vO8oqnWioS #InfrastructureWeek @InfraWeek pic.twitter.com/m29lyxbIOy
— T&I Committee Republicans (@TransportGOP) May 13, 2019
Nowhere in Balderson’s 628-word piece, however, does he delve into how he would pay for this influx of infrastructure investment. The closest he comes is an observation that “we must find a way to bolster the fund and ensure the safety and efficiency of our surface transportation for all who use it, while being prudent with taxpayers’ hard-earned money.”
Balderson, who was narrowly elected in a 2018 special election and narrowly re-elected in November, ran on an anti-spending platform. The top issue on his campaign page was “Balancing the Budget,” in which he promised to back a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution and to “stop the out of control spending.” (This concern about excessive expenditures only went so far, as he also promised to “work with President [Donald] Trump” to build a wall along the nation’s southern border).
Balderson also ran as an anti-tax candidate promising less taxation, not more. The same issues page said he “strongly supports federal tax reform efforts led by President Trump that doubled the standard deduction, expanded the child tax credit, provided tax relief for small businesses and working families, and repealed the Death Tax.” It also said that he would “continue to work for lower taxes that keep more money in the pockets of Ohio families and small businesses, and out of the hands of DC politicians so good-paying, American jobs are created here at home.”
So without more borrowing or revenue, it is unclear how Balderson plans to make this infrastructure money appear. After Trump and Democratic leaders tentatively agreed to pursue a $2 trillion infrastructure plan last month, Congressional Republicans quickly poo-pooed the figure as “pie in the sky.” And during the Obama years, the GOP congressional majority blocked even public-private partnerships, concerned about austerity.
A spokesperson for Balderson did not respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about how he planned to fund his proposal.