- The Trump administration will announce its $1 trillion infrastructure plan sometime this year, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said without providing specifics, Reuters reported last week.
- Chao noted that the $1 trillion investment would commence over a 10 year period and could apply not just to roads, aviation and ports and waterways, but possibly energy, water, veterans hospitals and even broadband infrastructure.
- Although President Donald Trump had hoped an infrastructure overhaul would come within his first 100 days in office, other priorities took precedence. Chao's statement comes as the first official timeline for the project.
Despite the seemingly reassuring news that infrastructure funding remains a priority for the Trump administration, the fact is that even the $1 trillion proposed economic infusion remains less than half of what's needed.
Of the $2.042 trillion surface transportation investment required, each area -- ports and waterways, rail, aviation, roads and bridges -- is currently short by $15 billion at a minimum (ports and waterways), and $420 billion (roads) at a maximum.
In addition, at the beginning of March, President Donald Trump pledged to reduce the Department of Transportation's budget by 13%, eliminating the popular TIGER grants and the Essential Air Service while leaving the DOT with $16.2 billion with which to work.
Critics saw the move as a step back from his promise, while supporters perceived it as a minor step in the President's infrastructure overhaul. (With an overhaul, the grants would no longer be necessary).
Given these massive shortages, it seems optimistic to suggest that such areas as energy, water, the V.A. and broadband can also potentially benefit from the maximum proposed investment. Eliminating overlap is one thing, but continuing to underfund critical contributors to the economy, and even suggesting additional recipients despite a $1.042 trillion shortage at best, seems unhelpful.