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Maine's Federal Lawmakers Diverge On President Biden's Infrastructure Plan

Biden Infrastructure
John Raoux
A parking area with charging stations for electric vehicles at a public park is seen Thursday, April 1, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. As part of an infrastructure proposal by the Biden administration, $174 billion will be set aside to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, electrify 20% of school buses and electrify the federal fleet, including U.S. Postal Service vehicles.

Two of Maine’s four-member congressional delegation serve on their respective Appropriations committees and will be in the center of discussions around President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan.

Both Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree say they support a package, but differ on how it should be paid for and what should be in it.

Collins says she has long supported a major infrastructure plan, but says Biden has included too much funding aimed at increasing the market for electric vehicles, and not enough for broadband, roads, bridges and water systems.

“it would allocate $157 billion for roads, bridges, ports, airports and waterways combined, compared to $174 billion for investments in electric vehicles,” she says.

And Collins says when added to the borrowed money already spent on pandemic relief, the package is too large.

“We are approaching $10 trillion. That is an enormous amount of new spending,” she says.

And Collins says the proposed hike in the corporate tax to pay for the plan goes too far. But Democrat Pingree says boosting the corporate rate from 21% to 28% is fair, because many companies effectively pay much less than that.

“The average corporate tax rate is about 8%, which is far lower than the average middle-class family," she says. "And it gets rid of a lot of loopholes in the tax code.”

Pingree says as the U.S. economy undergoes significant change, the nation’s infrastructure must be defined more broadly than as a network of roads and bridges.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.