The Democratic candidates proposing infrastructure upgrades said they would pay for them largely by undoing Mr. Trump’s tax cuts for businesses, along with a variety of other steps.
One funding issue the next administration may be confronted with is how to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, which gets its revenue from federal fuels taxes. The trust fund has faced a shortfall because fuel taxes haven’t been raised in a quarter-century while increased vehicle efficiency has cut into gasoline and diesel consumption.
But the candidates said it was unlikely that Congress would approve a gas-tax increase. Mr. Biden, for example, said he would devote $50 billion from the higher taxes on corporations to bolster the trust fund but said flatly, “We’re not going to be able to raise the gas tax.” He did, however, say that Congress might be able to index the tax for inflation.
The forum Sunday, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, was moderated by The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib and Jeanne Cummings.
The forum was a showcase for the candidates before organized labor.
The most powerful union in Nevada, Culinary 226, which represents about 60,000 members from the hospitality industry, said Friday it wouldn’t endorse a presidential candidate before the caucuses.
Most of the nation’s largest labor unions have stayed on the sidelines in the 2020 primaries, but some labor organizations have signaled plans to become more active.
The candidates said they would honor prevailing wage laws, including the Davis-Bacon law, which they said would ensure that workers receive fair wages. They also vowed to prevent corporations from taking over federal apprenticeship programs, a key concern for building trades and other unions.
The leading Democratic presidential contenders, along with Mr. Trump, were invited to participate in the forum. On the Democratic side, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren chose not to attend.
The event’s host committee included: International Union of Operating Engineers; Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO; North America’s Building Trades Unions; Transport Workers Union of America; American Society of Civil Engineers; American Public Transportation Association; American Council of Engineering Companies; American Road and Transportation Builders Association; Value of Water Campaign; Association of Equipment Manufacturers; Airports Council International-North America; and Build Together.