Your Opinion: Infrastructure smoke and mirrors

Dear Editor:

On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president of the United States in a speech delivered from Trump Tower in New York, NY. Among the problems he addressed was infrastructure. "It is necessary that we invest in our infrastructure to rebuild our tunnels, roads, bridges and schools."

As president at a Cincinnati rally he said, "he was creating a $1 trillion plan that will create a first-class infrastructure that would bring back jobs."

To meet his promised goals, The Kansas City Star (6/3/2017) reports that "President Donald Trump's team has compiled a list of about 50 infrastructure projects nationwide for immediate attention totaling at least $137.5 billion."

But an analysis of the Trump budget finds that it cuts infrastructure spending overall by $55 billion, according to the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan research organization (coincidentally, the college Trump attended).

So where is the remaining $132 billion going to come from? INFRA (infrastructure proposals by Trump during the 2016 campaign) aims "to meet the goal of $135.5 billion through participation by state, local, and private partners." (Kansas City Star and Douthat NYT)

Of course, "the private partners (the investor class of Wall Street) with plenty of cash" will expect profits for their investment. Dividends matter. (Douthat, NYT)

How are the profits generated? As an example in Virginia Interstate 66 tolls are sky-high on the new Interstate 66 Express Lanes: "When traffic is heavy it can cost $34.50 for a one-way 10 mile trip."

And what about the millions of jobs created? "The result leaves a reforming conservatism as the neglected stepchild of the G.O.P. Granted table scraps while the donors get the feast. A reasonable voter should consider Trump's proposal a betrayal of his promises. And it wastes an opportunity to turbocharge the recovery because the bill's corporate beneficiaries will be the private investors. The middle-class taxpayers will foot the bill through higher user fees and taxes." (Douthat, conservative op ed columnist of the NYT).

And coincidentally, Trump's proposal also assumes states like Missouri and local municipalities like Cole County will raise taxes or incur debt through bond issues to finance their part of the $135.5 billion.

Trump's infrastructure plan is all smoke and mirrors, friends.

Problem is assimilation, not immigration

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