As recent Amtrak crashes, bridge collapses, and other disasters demonstrate, America’s infrastructure is urgently in need of repair. By skimping on federal funding while wooing private investors, President Trump’s plan won’t rebuild our roads, highways, bridges and airports. But, it will reward politically connected Wall Street types, while hiking working Americans’ water bills and highway tolls.
Tax Breaks Don’t Repair Roads. Trump says he supports a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. But that’s the price tag for his tax cuts for big businesses and the wealthiest one percent, and our country can’t spend the same money twice. After actually cutting infrastructure programs in his current federal budget, Trump now calls for only $200 billion in additional federal funding. The remaining $1.3 trillion is supposed to come from cities, states, and private investors.
Watch Out for “Trump Tolls.” If you want to know who’s going to pick up the tab, just look in the mirror. Trump’s skimpy federal spending will be paid for with cuts in other programs, as will state and local spending. With the program relying on private investors, it will go where the greatest returns are and avoid hard-pressed factory towns like Flint, Michigan, or Youngstown, Ohio. And private investors will hike highway tolls, water bills, and other user fees.
We need a real program. With 54,000 bridges requiring repairs, the American Society of Consulting Engineers has called for at least $2 trillion in infrastructure investments over 10 years. Knowledgeable organizations from the Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO agree that Trump’s proposal is totally inadequate. Senate Democrats are proposing a federal investment of $1 trillion, with an added benefit: 15 million good-paying jobs over 10 years.