Speaking with reporters at conference for small business owners, Sen. Sherrod Brown didn't sound optimistic that the president's infrastructure proposal would provide sufficient to the extension of the U.S. Route 30 expressway.

GREEN U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, is not wowed by the infrastructure plan President Donald Trump released Monday.

Speaking with reporters at Akron-Canton Airport during a conference for small-business owners, he criticized as "woefully inadequate" Trump's proposal, which calls for $200 million in federal funding over 10 years, with $1.3 trillion to be provided by local and state governments and private companies.

"It's 15 months late and keeps shrinking. ... That doesn't make much dirt fly," said Brown, who said Trump and Republicans in December enacted tax cuts at the expense of addressing the nation's infrastructure needs.

What does the president's plan mean for funding the extension of the U.S. 30 expressway from Canton to eastern Columbiana County?

"I think the president has shown ... so little interest in infrastructure, except talking about it, that I don't know how many dollars are going to be available," Brown said. "I know if they had done this right a year ago and followed anything close to the plan that a number of us introduced ... we would be breaking ground now. We would be expanding U.S. 30 ... all the way. We would be building the Brent Spence bridge (in Cincinnati). We would be helping some of these 6,400 bridges in Ohio that are considered structurally deficient by government inspectors. We would be doing those things. Instead Congress did a tax cut that billionaires love and the middle class gets such a small amount of."

The senator said the federal government once provided 90 percent of the funding of infrastructure projects with local and state government covering 10 percent. He said about a year ago, he proposed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan that "would have used real revenue."

Brown said he voted for the budget deal passed by Congress late last week despite it lacking provisions to legalize the immigration status of "Dreamers," brought into this country as children by their parents who illegally crossed the border or overstayed visas.

The senator said after a series of short-term funding bills, the deal means "the military can plan. The secretary of health and human services can plan. Investors can plan. And we're in a better position because of it." He relied on the promise by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, the Senate would have an open debate on immigration this month.

Brown said he favored legalizing the status of the Dreamers. He said he favored deportation of criminals but opposed the automatic deportation of immigrants who had made positive contributions to America.

"(The Dreamers) these are kids who came here as small children. And Akron and Cleveland and Maple Heights and Toledo are all they know. They don't know Guatemala or Mexico or China or France," Brown said. "There are thousands of Ohio Dreamers that should be treated well because they are treating this country well. ... They should be embraced in our country."

Reach Robert 330-580-8327 or robert.wang@cantonrep.com.

On Twitter: @rwangREP