During the 2016 campaign, candidate
Donald Trump promised a trillion dollars in infrastructure spending if elected.
The news was met with cautious optimism by the construction industry, which
stood to gain the most from a major spending spree by the federal government.
But like many of candidate Trump’s promises, the reality of President Trump’s actual plan is vastly different.
The Washington Post reports that Trump’s plan, presented in his budget proposal released May 23, puts forward just $200 billion in infrastructure spending while slashing $206 billion from existing infrastructure programs.
That’s a net decrease in infrastructure spending of $6 billion over the next 10 years.
“This infrastructure plan is looking like yet another broken promise from the president,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. “Our roads and bridges, airports and train stations, electrical grid and water systems are suffering from years of neglect, and we were promised the money to start to tackle those problems. President Trump’s budget comes nowhere close.”
Despite Trump’s talk of a massive rebuilding project, he instead relies on local governments and private investment in infrastructure, which could mean future projects are funded by tolls or increased local taxes.
Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s infrastructure a D+ grade, citing nearly $5 trillion in backlogged repair costs. Two trillion dollars of that needs to be spent on American roadways alone, nearly $1 trillion on the aging electrical grid, another $870 billion on schools, and trillions more on airports, railways, water and wastewater systems, parks and flood control.
As recently as March, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka praised Trump’s proposed $1 trillion investment in infrastructure, telling FOX Business, “Workers just feel like they've been left behind. And they wanted him to rewrite the rules of the economy, not for the rich, not for the wealthy, not for corporate America, not for Wall Street, but for them.”
But with this week’s budget release, the reality of the president’s proposal hasn’t lived up to the rhetoric of his campaign.
“We have to do better than this,” Stephenson said. “Our members are ready and able to do the work, but we need real leadership from Washington. America needs to invest in itself.”