Issue Report ● Jobs and Economy
For Immediate Release: 
February 13, 2018
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
For over a year, the American people have been waiting to see President Trump’s infrastructure proposal. After releasing it yesterday, it’s clear the President’s plan is not a serious approach to building the 21st century infrastructure we need to have a strong economy. A look at the news coverage shows it is already being dismissed out of hand by both parties as an unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky proposal:

Vox: Trump’s Infrastructure Proposal, Explained – Stingier Grants and No Actual Source of New Money.
 “In his State of the Union address, Donald Trump promised an infrastructure agenda that would let America ‘build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land.’ The actual infrastructure program he’s unveiling today alongside his fiscal year 2019 budget request, however, is likely to do nothing of the sort.”

In part that’s due to the specific elements of the program design. But more fundamentally it’s because of the way the program is financed — or, rather, not financed.”

“He’s just saying the $200 billion should be offset by unspecified spending cuts elsewhere, rolled out in the context of a budget proposal that calls for all kinds of cuts in spending — including at core Department of Transportation and Department of Energy programs that fund infrastructure.”

BBC: Trump's Infrastructure Blueprint ‘A Scam’
“The main problem for the White House is that the proposal allocates no new funds for bridges, railways, roads and tunnels. Instead, it recommends taking money out of other government programmes - although it leaves to Congress the unenviable task of determining what gets the axe.”

“In addition, the plan leans heavily on states and localities to pick up the tab for the projects. Their budgets are always tight, and recent cuts to federal deductions for state and local taxes will make it harder to raise revenue.”

“Then there's the private funding component of the proposal. While it seems attractive in theory, tolls and fees that line corporate pockets have long been unpopular with Americans.”

New York Times: Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Puts Burden on State and Private Money
“The amount of federal funds — $20 billion a year — will be spread very thin when stretched across the entire country. It is also unclear how much new money, as opposed to repurposed funds, the federal government is actually supplying.

“One analysis by the Penn-Wharton Budget Model at the University of Pennsylvania said that other pieces of the White House budget could end up reducing federal infrastructure spending by $55 billion over 10 years — despite the president’s new plan.”

The Hill: Trump Infrastructure Plan Gets Cold Reception
“President Trump’s proposal to revamp the nation’s roads and bridges landed with a thud on Monday…”

“Getting conservative Republicans on board with spending $200 billion on infrastructure will be a tough sell…”

NPR: Trump Infrastructure Plan Would Pay For A Fraction Of Investment
 “…But the word ‘generate’ is not the same as ‘spend,’ as the Trump administration's plan proposes to allocate just a fraction of that ambitious goal, $200 billion over 10 years, with most of the rest of the funding burden shifted onto states and local governments.”

The Week: Trump’s Infrastructure Fairytale
“.. It presents itself as a $1.5 trillion plan, but that is grotesquely misleading. The actual amount Trump wants the federal government to pony up is $200 billion. Half of that will go to a smorgasbord of direct spending on infrastructure across the country. The other half will provide incentives for state governments and private investors to pony up their own money to get roads, mass transit, airports, water systems, electrical systems, dams, and everything else up to snuff. That's where the remaining $1.3 trillion would come from.”

 “The plan’s overall philosophy bears a striking resemblance to the president's previous deals in real estate: Trump gets the glory while someone else gets stuck with the bill.”

The Guardian: Trump Pledges To Fix Infrastructure But $200bn Plan Falls Well Short
“Donald Trump unveiled a $200bn plan to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure – a plan that falls woefully short of the trillions civil engineers say is needed to rebuild the country’s tattered backbone and is likely to face intense opposition from Democrats and Republicans.

“The promised federal funds are a fraction of the $2tn that the American Society of Civil Engineers says is needed to repair US infrastructure. Last year, the ASCE gave the US’s infrastructure a D+ grade and said failure to act would cost the US economy $4tn by 2025.”

The Seattle Times: Trump’s Budget Would Slash Money For Sound Transit, Seattle Bus And Streetcar Lines
“President Donald Trump proposed $200 billion in new infrastructure spending on Monday, while at the same time reiterating his desire to slash funding on public transit infrastructure in Washington and across the country.”

“It’s unclear if the $200 billion proposed in the infrastructure plan would outweigh the infrastructure cuts elsewhere in the budget.”

“Far from the $1.5 trillion boost that Trump is touting, the study found that on net, infrastructure spending could be cut by as much as $55 billion over 10 years.”

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Alexander Denounces Trump Proposal To Sell TVA Transmission Assets As 'Looney' - Sales Could Be Used To Help Pay For President's $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Program
“President Trump on Monday reignited the debate over the proper role of government in the power industry by proposing the Tennessee Valley Authority and other power utilities owned by the federal government sell their transmission assets.”

“Such sales could help pay for Trump's $1.5 trillion infrastructure program, but U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., immediately dismissed the president's proposal as ‘looney’ and predicted Congress will reject the proposal.”

“‘This looney idea of selling TVA's transmission lines seems to keep popping up regardless of who is president,’ Alexander said in a statement after the Trump White House proposed the sale of TVA's transmission assets in its budget plan for fiscal 2019. ‘It has zero chance of becoming law.’”

Times Herald-Record: Rail-Tunnel Backers Pan Trump’s Infrastructure Proposal
“Proponents of a $13 billion project to build a new rail tunnel between New York and New Jersey seen as critical for the future of the nation’s busiest rail corridor are panning President Donald Trump’s infrastructure proposal.”

“The budget released by the White House on Monday envisions $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending over the next 10 years; however, only $200 billion would be direct federal spending aimed at leveraging state and local dollars.”

Boston Herald: Advocates Say Trump's Infrastructure Plan Full Of Potholes
“…Transit advocates told the Herald they worry it still won’t address the Bay State’s bad bridges and roads because it relies heavily on local dollars.”

“Abbie Goodman, executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts, said the president’s plan fell short in a few key areas.”

“‘Unfortunately, the plan outlined today by the administration does not seem to address the real needs for transportation or water infrastructure funding, nor does it address climate resiliency, which we have already seen will be increasingly critical for the entire nation,’ Goodman said.”

The Mercury News: ‘Woefully Inadequate:’ Bay Area Leaders Decry Trump’s ‘Puny’ Infrastructure Plan
“Bay Area politicians and transportation officials decried President Trump’s much-anticipated infrastructure spending proposal, unveiled Monday, as ‘woefully inadequate’ to make the kinds of improvements to public transit and congestion management the region so desperately needs.”

“The proposal, which still must be approved by Congress and faces fierce obstacles in both parties, outlines $200 billion in federal spending over 10 years for a wide range of infrastructure improvements… Of that, $100 billion of the proposed spending will be dedicated to an “Incentive Program’... That works out to roughly $10 billion per year, of which, each state can only apply to receive up to 10 percent — not a lot of money for costly public transit and highway projects, said Randy Rentschler, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the region’s transportation planning agency.”

“‘This whole thing is woefully inadequate,’ Rentschler said. ‘This is not remotely close to a major infrastructure plan and not remotely close to something that could be significant for transportation.’”
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