Economy

Trump’s Infrastructure “Plan” Calls for Cutting Infrastructure

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

We've been hearing for months now that Trump's infrastructure "plan" would include $200 billion in federal spending that's suppose to trigger an additional $1.3 trillion in spending by states and private businesses.

Exactly how that's suppose to happen, whether through osmosis or magic, isn't clear, but Trump's proposal doesn't even include $200 billion.

His proposal does call for spending $200 billion on infrastructure, but it calls for off-setting it with $200 billion in cuts to... infrastructure.

Rather than creating new sources of revenue, such calling for an increase in the federal gas tax ― which is supported by groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ― White House aides have suggested that lawmakers pay for Trump’s infrastructure proposal by cutting funding from other transportation programs like Amtrak or the Highway Trust Fund. To that end, the White House on Monday is slated to release its 2019 fiscal year budget, which is expected to renew the call for deep cuts to domestic programs like transportation.

You can forget all the other nuances, or a lack thereof, included in Trump's proposal because the bottom line is it offers nothing. Trump's budget proposal was also released this morning and, sure enough, it calls for the cuts outlined above.

We've been over this several times before, but states do not have $1.3 trillion in their back pocket to spend on infrastructure. States that have the means are already spending significant amounts of money on infrastructure projects, such as high speed rail projects in California, but even that partially relies on federal funding.

Ironically, states that show the highest levels of support for Trump are relatively poor, conservative states that can't even afford to fund a full week of school. These states can't fund all of their own infrastructure projects.

To that end, Trump's proposal calls for allowing states to set up tolls on existing infrastructure such as federal highways. Of course that means residents of these states could be double-taxed for something that was already built decades ago.

I guess they'll be Great Again.

  • katanahamon

    We are witnessing the rape of America. We are allowing a tremendous wealth redistribution to the already wealthiest one percent, and on top of that an economic sabotage of epic proportions by allowing them to decrease tax revenue and increase expenditures on things that have no return, like an already huge, bloated military. I’d rather have stable markets and spending on social programs with “tax and spend” vs Rump’s never successful “spend and spend” strategery, where both “spends” are on the one percent.

  • Draxiar

    This is a large scale version of what this thing called trump does to subcontractors. Run up the bill, refuse to pay, let others eat the cost, and still get what you want. This is what happens when you run government like a business.

  • muselet

    Hey, potholes and collapses are good for the economy or they’re the price we pay for freedumb or some such.

    The only infrastructure plan worse than the administration’s would be to destroy all infrastructure built (or paid for) by the federal government because SOCIALISM!

    Oh, dear lord, forget I said that. I don’t want to give this band of Visigoths any ideas.

    –alopecia

    • ninjaf

      Maybe if we frame these potholes as a “bailout” for the auto industry because people have to buy new cars more often, Republicans will get those roads fixed lickety split. Because we know how much they love an auto industry “bail out.”

  • Nefercat

    Also, “His proposal does call for spending $200 billion on infrastructure…” translated into greedspeak means “handing $200 billion taxpayer dollars to private ‘contractors’ who are trump cronies and donors.” Not one dime will ever so much as patch a pothole.

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  • Nefercat

    Oh goody, just what we need, so-called tolls that are in reality regressive taxes that will target the poorest hardest. Can “tolls” to use local roads and bridges, or to enter public buildings including schools, be far behind?

  • ninjaf

    WTF? Tolls on existing federal highways?

    I guess because Republicans have to see something before they believe it, we are going to have to “states rights” every fucking penny in the treasury and keep all of the tax dollars home. And then when those welfare states realize just how much they are being subsidized by the donor states, they might finally STFU and allow the grown ups to run the country. But boy, is that ever going to be a painful process!

    • Badgerite

      Worse. Since most of our food system travels on those highways you can expect this to add to inflation that will hit all Americans at the grocery store and everywhere else. These ‘toll’ costs will be passed on to the consumer in higher prices probably for everything and anything that involves goods that are transported, well, anywhere.
      In terms of what this would do to the average consumer, this stuff is just crazy. This is a tax on business and the consumer by other means.