Trump's Budget Fails to Deliver Infrastructure Funding
While Trump promised $1.5 Trillion to rebuild our country's infrastructure, he is only delivering $200 Billion
After months of waiting, Trump has finally released his first budget. There has been much speculation about what would be included in it, including a proposal to eliminate federal workers pensions. One of the keys to his budget is a huge investment in infrastructure, but experts say that this proposal may be dead on arrival in the Republican-led House.
Trump’s budget calls for $1.5 Trillion to be spent on infrastructure, with $200 Billion, over the next ten years, coming from the Federal Government. The budget calls for $21 Billion to be spent in 2019. The rest of the $1.3 Trillion would need to be raised by states and local governments. Trump has previously suggested that states seek private investors to help rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.
With such a small investment from the federal government, states will either have to prioritize projects that are most in need or find ways to get a return on their investment. This would mean more toll roads and bridges to create an income source for private investors.
Instead of investing in infrastructure, Trump’s budget actually cuts funding to domestic programs, while increasing spending for the largest build up of the military since Reagan. While Trump tweeted out “This will be a big week for Infrastructure. After so stupidly spending $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is now time to start investing in OUR Country!” his budget does not reflect that sentiment.
The $200 Billion isn’t even guaranteed money. Instead, half of the funding will be set aside to be used as incentives for local and state governments. It will only be given out to projects that are able to raise 80% of the cost themselves. Critics of the plan worry that this will mean only money-making projects like toll roads or bridges will get fixed, leaving many important projects unfunded. Another $50 Billion will be set aside specifically for rural infrastructure projects and $20 Billion will be handed out as loans to states.
While there was some talk that Trump would propose a hike in the gas tax to pay for this new spending, the tax hike was not included in the plan. Instead, Trump proposed cuts to other areas of the federal budget. The Federal gas tax has not been raised in 25 years.
While Trump has laid out his plan, some Republicans in Congress say that it is already dead on arrival due to the astronomical bill that comes with his budget. Estimates show that it will add $984 Billion to the deficit in 2019 and $7 Trillion over the next ten years. Democrats are similarly not impressed with the spending, saying that it invests too little to fill the backlog of crumbling roads, bridges, railroads, tunnels and airports, along with other needs like rural broadband service.