The Case for Trump’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
A recently released report commissioned by the Department of Transportation, identifies an $836 billion backlog of unmet capital investment needs for the nation’s highways and bridges. The 2015 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance is a biennial report to Congress that provides data and information on the nation’s surface transportation system. According to Carolyn Flowers, acting Federal Transit Administrator, the “results of that neglect can be seen throughout our country as both reliability and safety suffer.”
“The case for more investment in our nation’s transportation system is clear,” says Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “A strong transportation system will make businesses more productive and freight shippers safer and more efficient while improving America’s quality of life.”
President-elect Donald J. Trump hopes that his proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan will meet the capital investment needs of the nation’s highways and bridges. His transition website claims that America’s “roads, bridges, airports, transit systems and ports will be the envy of the world and enhance the lives of all Americans.” While details are lacking, some reports provide that Trump’s plan should offer nearly $140 billion in federal tax credits to private investors that back transportation projects. Trump argues that his proposal will generate more than $1 trillion in investment over the next 10 years and that private investment will be quicker and cheaper than having the federal government take the lead.
As Republicans currently control both houses of Congress, Trump should have little problem pushing through some form of an infrastructure plan in his first 100 days in office. The scope of the plan, however, will depend largely on the priority that the President-elect and Congress place on infrastructure in the face of other pressing issues such as healthcare and the tax code.
Critics of Trump’s plan point to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll that provides that sixty-six percent of respondents oppose Trump’s vast infrastructure plan. It’s worth noting, though, that unfavorable polls haven’t suppressed Trump’s agenda to this point, giving us every reason to believe that a comprehensive infrastructure plan is on the horizon.