Talks of a massive infrastructure project continue between Congressional leaders and the White House, and Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-V.I.) is getting a firsthand look at potential projects.
During the recent two-week Congressional recess period, Plaskett and members of the New Democrats Infrastructure Task Force embarked on a cross-country infrastructure listening tour. Plaskett is a co-chair of the Task Force, a group of Democratic House members who are working to modernize America’s roads, bridges, waterways and more.
That tour led Plaskett and other members to places like Dallas, Texas, home to one of the busiest airports and fastest-growing regions in the country; and to Charleston, South Carolina, home to one of the top ten busiest and fastest-growing ports in the country.
The main takeaways from the two similar yet different locations: there is a clear need to improve and expand infrastructure projects in these areas, and to advocate for a real, comprehensive infrastructure investment both in Congress and at the White House, she said.
But how will the tour affect the Virgin Islands and potential infrastructure investments locally? In Charleston, the group explored a series of drainage systems to control flooding and coastal water runoff. A similar system locally would improve waterflow in ghuts across the island, Plaskett explained.
“What Charleston has done is create drainage areas and they all connect underground to one spot. That water is then filtrated out, as well, or used for other purposes,” Plaskett said. “(We’re) recognizing maybe that’s something we need to look into if we had the funds would really be supportive for us, as well.”
Many things were needed before the hurricanes in 2017, but those disasters only enhanced the need, added.
One big hurdle sits between the pipedreams and the hypothetical pipelines (and other investments): money. The White House and top Democrats – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have agreed the price tag for such a massive, nationwide infrastructure project could run upwards of $2 trillion, a number that isn’t sitting well with fiscal conservatives and some Senate Republicans.
Both the tour and talks from the White House and Congressional Democrats come ahead of what’s known as National Infrastructure Week in Washington, which starts Monday.