NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The next big political battle in Washington will be over infrastructure spending.

In New Jersey, both U.S. Senators say President Joe Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan does more than just make repairs and that it’s about investing in the future, CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported Monday.

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There is no denying the need for infrastructure spending.

“Consider that in New Jersey alone, there are 502 bridges and over 3,995 miles of highway in poor condition that have contributed to commute times increasing by nearly 9% since 2011,” said Sen. Bob Menendez.

Those bridges and roads would get immediate attention should the Senate pass Biden’s $2.3 trillion proposal. For Sen. Menendez, the legislation would signify the biggest investment since the Interstate Highway Act of 1956.

“For several generations now, we have done nothing to improve or build upon or even to a large degree maintain that infrastructure,” Menendez said.

Menendez and Sen. Cory Booker detailed their priorities for the state at Newark Penn Station on Monday.

They include:

  • Extending the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail,
  • moving to a zero-emissions bus fleet,
  • modernizing aging train stations and rail bridges,
  • increasing rail capacity on several lines,
  • and advancing the Gateway Project (including the Portal North Bridge).

“That project has unnecessarily been stalled for the past four years. These are four years that we just don’t have,” said Janna Chernetz from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

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Chernetz said the infrastructure bill would also help prevent fare hikes at NJ TRANSIT.

“Too often, riders are the first to look upon to help full budget gaps,” Chernetz said.

According to a new CBS News poll, Biden’s plan has 58% approval nationwide, but only 19% of Republicans back the proposal.

Criticism among conservatives includes spending on public housing, elderly care and environmental projects. Sen. Booker said it should all be in the bill.

“Whether it is cleaning up abandoned mines, cleaning up superfund sites we have in New Jersey, getting lead pipes. I’m sorry, that’s infrastructure and I stand by that,” said Booker.

Another sticking point is how to pay for it all. Under the president’s plan, the corporate tax rate would be raised to 28%.

Democrats also want to get rid of the cap on state and local tax deductions (SALT), which Sen. Menendez said is required for his support.

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CBS2’s Kevin Rincon contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team