Passing Zone

Trump Sticks to Vague Infrastructure Script

Blog Commentary by David Cullen, Executive Editor

June 7, 2017

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Photo: U.S. DOT
Photo: U.S. DOT

President Trump took his infrastructure show on the road June 7, talking up the trillion-dollar investment that he first spoke of the day after the election to a campaign-style rally event at a riverside venue in Cincinnati.

While Trump again touted that big, bold proposal, he revealed little more of what the initiative will consist of when it is eventually presented to Congress.

Only a broad outline of the $1 trillion plan has yet come into focus— the federal government would invest $200 billion in cash and tax credits that would stoke an additional $800 billion in private investment.

In Cincinnati, the president made a pitch for bipartisan action on infrastructure, asking “Democrats and Republicans to work together, if that’s possible,” to pass his package.

On the other hand, he also revisited old battles, claiming for example, per his published remarks, that “the Obama Administration’s attempt to rebuild the country’s infrastructure was an expensive waste that saw little money actually go to infrastructure.”

Speaking at the Rivertowne Marina on the Ohio River, Trump limited his remarks on his infrastructure plan to the importance of rebuilding the nation’s inland waterways. Published excerpts note, for example, that inland waterways support more than 270,000 jobs and $30.9 billion in economic activity and that “our inland waterway system requires $8.7 billion in maintenance and the maintenance backlog is only getting worse.”

But it was the president’s continued insistence in Cincinnati on the overwhelming importance of private investment to fix what he called America’s “crumbling infrastructure” that garnered outright rebuke from the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates. Privatizing our infrastructure through public-private partnerships will not solve our nation’s transportation problems,” said Stephanie Kane, ATFI spokesperson, in a statement. 

“To be clear,” she continued, “when President Trump spoke today [June 7] about ‘private dollars’ in infrastructure, specifically relating to surface transportation, he is talking about tolls. Tolls will not fill our infrastructure deficit because tolls rob everyday drivers to line the pockets of Wall Street and international investors. Tolls are the worst funding mechanism available and are a highly inefficient use of funds. Tolls should be removed from any discussion of responsibly fixing our country’s ailing roads and bridges.”

"Robbing everyday drivers"? That sounds like a line this president might himself utter, if not tweet.

Stay tuned. When more details are released on Trump's infrastructure initiative, you will be able to read all about it right here.

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Author Bio

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David Cullen

Executive Editor

Executive Editor David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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