The White House is Turning to Infrastructure

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, AAM

President Trump has set himself a busy schedule of watchin’ Fox and Friends, getting his facts from an unfolding terror attack from Twitter, and using a tragedy on the streets of London to reheat some old beef with that city’s mayor.

I mean there’s only so much time in the day!

But clear some space: The White House has announced it is now Infrastructure Week.

Oh yes. The Trump administration plans to lay out its vision of a federal infrastructure package in the next few days. To kick it off, it’s announcing an effort to privatize the national air traffic control system:

Then he’s headed to Cincinnati (the Queen City) to talk about water infrastructure projects. Then he’s bringing the show back to DC to mayors and governors about the infrasturcture plans.

President Trump likes talking about infrastructure. His advisers cranked out a plan for spending on roads, bridge, and waterways in late October, just before the election. A later iteration of it promised $1 trillion in funding over a decade, though it was pretty sketchy on the details of how it planned to pay for it.

That $1 trillion number hasn’t changed. All the associated details remain unclear, too, notes the Wall Street Journal:

The White House still hasn’t said how it plans to pay for the federal government’s share of the projects, and officials said a more detailed proposal will come at an unspecified later date. But Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser said the administration aims to encourage states and cities to bear much of the burden.

For what it’s worth: The federal government’s “share” is supposed to be $200 billion, which is expected to spur the other $800 billion from private investors and state and local governments.

But no one knows where that initial money is gonna come from. The Economic Policy Institute points out infrastructure gets little attention  in Trump’s recent budget proposal, and some on Capitol Hill aren’t holding their breath. The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) spoke with Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, about an infrastructure bill’s prospects on Capitol Hill and its funding structure – and he was skeptical.

In between now and the next infrastructure-related event, the president will most likely dramatically change the subject with an early morning tweet or two. But rest assured: AAM will be watching closely to see what kind of details his infrastructure plan will include. Some set-in-stone Buy America assurances would be a good start.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Saving the Nation’s Parks

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

The wildfires ravaging the West Coast not only pose imminent danger to iconic national parks like Crater Lake in Oregon and the Redwoods in California, but threaten the future of all of America’s beloved scenic places.

As climate change fuels the federal government’s need to spend more of National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service budgets on wildfire suppression, massive maintenance backlogs and decrepit infrastructure threaten the entire system of national parks and forests.

A long-overdue infusion of funds into the roads, bridges, tunnels, dams and marinas in these treasured spaces would generate jobs and preserve landmark sites for generations to come.

The infrastructure networks in the nation’s parks long have failed to meet modern-day demand. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave parks a D+ rating in its 2017 infrastructure report card, citing chronic underfunding and deferred maintenance.

Just this year, a large portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is owned and managed by the NPS, collapsed due to heavy rains and slope failures. Projects to prevent disasters like this one get pushed further down the road as wildfire management squeezes agency budgets more each year.

Congress recently passed the Great American Outdoors Act,  allocating billions in new funding for the NPS.

But that’s just a first step in a long yet vital process to bring parks and forests to 21st-century standards. America’s big, open spaces cannot afford to suffer additional neglect.

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