Small Business Owners and Municipal Leaders Discuss President's Proposed Infrastructure Plan

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - President Trump is making good on a campaign promise by proposing a $1.5 trillion dollar plan to repair and rebuild the nations crumbling highways, bridges, and water systems.

Trump said last Monday when he released the proposal, "I submitted legislative principles to Congress that will spur the biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in American History."

While Trump's biggest critics applaud him for tackling the infrastructure problem, they don't agree on the way he plans to fund it.

The President's plan commits 200-billion dollars in federal funding over 10 years.

Further funding would come from state and local governments.

A group of local business owners and municipal leaders held a roundtable discussion in Bangor Thursday.

Will Ikard, Director of Maine Small Business Coalition says, "It puts too much of a financial burden on state and local governments, that it puts too much power in the hands of large corporations through privatizing what should be public goods."

Critics say it will lead to higher state and local taxes and an increased reliance on user fees, such as tolls, water and sewer fees, transit fares, and airline ticket taxes.

Gale White, owner of Lubec Brewing Company, says their small town of one thousand people can't afford to fix the failing infrastructure that over 30,000 tourists use each year.

He says, "It's a tourist destination, so it's part of America's problem. Great idea, glad we're having a conversation, but to have the feds tell us we need to fix it and then expect us to pay for it, it's just unreasonable."

Those in attendance say the goal of the meeting was to discuss what could be presented to local and federal representatives as an alternative.

Ikard says, "Some of the things we'd like to see are costs shared across all sectors by all people for this public good. Local government, state government, the resources that they have and the tools that they have for generating revenue for public goods are very limited. But the federal government has a much better ability to make everyone pay their fair share for public goods."

White says, "I think our representation that we have right now needs to understand what the rural part of Maine is looking at, which is not being able to fund some really needed infrastructure changes."

Both parties support the need for an infrastructure plan.

The President has said he's open to working with Congress on a more refined version.