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UCOMM

Our Infrastructure Wish List

The Building Trades release a wish list for Trump to deliver on his often broken promises

Kris LaGrange's picture
Mar 30, 2017

One of Trump’s biggest promises on the campaign trail was that he was going to use his experience as a builder to fix our nations infrastructure problems.  In the middle of January, he met with some Building Trades union leaders and it was rumored that they discussed a plan to jumpstart these projects.  Now the Building Trades have released their wish list for projects that can use the twitter-n-chiefs help. 

The list, which is made up of 26 different projects, ranges throughout the trades from new energy and transmission lines, to water and wind projects, to building the new Airtrain to JFK airport in New York.  The projects would represent $80 Billion in infrastructure spending.  Unique to this wish list, more than 50% of the projects will not require federal funding.  Instead they need Trump’s help in the form of regulatory relief. 

The one project that the Building Trades really need help with is called the Gateway project.  This project, which needs $20 Billion in federal funds, would replace the 100 year old train tunnel that connects New Jersey and New York City.  This is one of the busiest train tunnels in America and was severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy 5 years ago. Although President Obama called this project one of the most important infrastructure projects in the country, Trump’s comments about freezing federal grant agreements for infrastructure projects has many concerned that the needed funding will not materialize. Most of the other projects are either shovel ready or are in the late stages of approval and have already found private financing. Anyone in the business knows that the time to act is now before Wall Street gets wise to Trump’s inconsistent effects on the economy.

The list also shows the varying interests of the Building Trades.  While they have received a lot of attention for their support of oil and natural gas pipelines like Keystone, some of the projects on the list include clean energy projects like the Soda Mountain Solar plan, which would build a 287 Megawatt solar generating plant in California, and the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Windfarm in Wyoming.  

Along with their list of projects, the Trades provided job creation numbers for about half of the projects.  Just 13 projects would create 65,000 highly skilled construction jobs that would pay between $20 and $100 an hour.  “They want to use this as an economic development tool,” Sean McGarvey, President of the North American Building Trades Unions told McClatchy, “not just to refurbish the infrastructure, but to use it as a tool to create jobs.”

If Trump is serious about creating jobs and spending $1 Trillion in infrastructure money to do it, these projects are a good start. Trump duped many Building Trades leaders and members into thinking he was the best choice to run the country and almost immediately there was buyers remorse.  Trump has the lowest approval rating of any “President” in recent history, so this tact (in giving the trades what they want) maybe just what he needs to continue the con on the working man. If Trump wants to stick to his campaign promise he should work with the trades to fast track these projects and resist those in his party who are seeking to weaken laws like Davis-Bacon and who are trying to pass a National Right to Work law.

Brian Young contributed to this story.

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