Local politicians respond to Trump's infrastructure plan: 'It shifts the burden'
President Donald Trump took to twitter Monday to announce a “big week” for his infrastructure plan that aims to bring $1.5 trillion in spending over the next decade to rebuild roads and highways.
The administration's 55-page plan is part of a Trump campaign promise to fix America’s “crumbling” infrastructure. Only $200 billion in federal money will be used to leverage funding from state and local governments, along with private investments. They plan to find the federal money through other cuts within the budget.
Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer responded to the plan on Monday, saying in part that it would shift the cost to local budgets that are already stretched thin:
"It’s been over 1,000 days since Trump tweeted ‘The only one to fix the infrastructure of our country is me.’ Bridges are crumbling. Commuters are stuck in traffic. There’s lead in our water. This crisis demands a solution. But this effort falls far short.
"Trump’s misguided ‘plan’ fails to renew the federal government’s partnership. Instead, it shifts the burden to cash-strapped state and local governments, while setting up a feeding frenzy that will only deepen political divisions and geographic inequality.
"Any serious proposal would provide more than a laundry list of wishes and budgetary gimmicks, but this is not a serious plan. The American people are being sold a bill of goods. With our roads, bridges, and transit systems in disrepair, Trump’s proposal just doesn’t cut it.
"It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a broad coalition willing to do their part in Congress to improve our infrastructure. Let’s rebuild and renew America."
Washington Governor Jay Inslee had this to say about the plan:
“Meaningfully investing in safe, and reliable infrastructure is a national imperative, and our state is more than doing its fair share. On a bipartisan basis, our state enacted the largest and greenest transportation package in state history in 2015 to make sure our roads, bridges, railways, ferries and transit systems can support our growing communities and economy. The president’s plan, unfortunately, abandons the federal government’s responsibility. His plan would essentially throw states a few Legos when what we really need is concrete and steel. His $1.5 trillion plan expects state, local and private partners to pick up more than 85 percent of the tab. States cannot and should not bear the burden of building a 21st century infrastructure system on our own.
“In Washington state, we also recognize the importance of transit, environmental protections and the value of protecting the cultural and historical legacies of the spaces where we build. The president’s rallying cry for deregulation will result in the silencing of local voices, the sidelining of science and the short-sighted development of infrastructure that cannot withstand the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.
“I look forward to a continued discussion about much-needed infrastructure investments from the federal government, like those proposed by congressional Democrats. It is long overdue for our federal partners to finally step up and support states with a robust infrastructure plan that meets the needs of the 21st century, and I hope the same spirit of bipartisan collaboration that brought us success in Washington state can be found in Washington, D.C.”
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley called the plan a "sham":
"President Trump’s long-awaited ‘infrastructure plan’ doesn’t directly invest in infrastructure and can hardly be called a plan. Trump’s supposed 1.5-trillion-dollar infrastructure plan is actually a no-infrastructure sham.
"Instead of helping struggling communities, this proposal actually saddles them with higher costs – raising taxes on local taxpayers and forcing commuters to pay ‘Trump Tolls’ to line the pockets of Wall Street. This proposal is the legislative equivalent of Trump University or Trump Taj Mahal – an absolute scam designed to make Donald Trump look better while forcing others to pay."