Infrastructure Plan Far From Concrete

Jun 9, 2017  | 3 min  | Ep4242

As the economy attempts to stay on an even keel 8 years after the end of the great recession, the nearly half-year old Trump Administration is pushing new ways to jump start America. This week, the president focused on a visibly aging infrastructure. He is hoping to get things moving but the fiscal balancing act could place a heavier burden on state government coffers.

Paul Yeager has the details. (markettomarket@iptv.org)

The optics of the president’s plan to rebuild America launched from a Cincinnati marina as coal from West Virginia floated by on barges.

President Donald Trump: 6:08 “We are a nation that built that created the Panama Canal, the Transcontinental Railroad and the great interstate highway system, we don’t do that anymore.”

However, President Trump’s announcements on infrastructure are far from concrete. One big detail is the price -- spending $200 billion in public funds to hopefully generate $1 trillion in private investment.

The president promised to create a “first-class” system of roads, bridges and waterways while reducing red tape to speed up the process.

President Donald Trump: “I'm calling on all Democrats and Republicans to join together, if that's possible, in the great rebuilding of America. Countless American industry, its businesses and jobs depends on rivers, runways, roads and rails that are in dire and even desperate condition."

Nearly 75 percent of U.S. exports moves on the nation’s rivers annually.

President Donald Trump: “These critical corridors of commerce depend on a dilapidated system of locks and dams that is more than half a century old, and their condition… is in very, very bad shape. It continues to decay.”

But the 12,000 miles of inland waterways maintained by the U.S. Arms Corps of Engineers, a lifeline for billions of dollars in agricultural trade, remains in jeopardy. The aging lock-and-dam system is nearly $9 billion behind in repairs. And the 2018 Trump budget slashed funding for the Corps by more than 50 percent, leaving barely enough to construct a single new lock and dam.

The National Corn Growers Association applauded the administration’s commitment as “Farmers rely on our national infrastructure every day to get our products to market quickly, safely, and efficiently.”

The president’s 2018 budget uses conflicting language as it cuts 13 percent from the transportation department while pushing shovel ready jobs. The administration’s plan cuts a 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program which funded dozens of road, transit and other projects similar to what Trump called for in his Ohio speech.  

The President touted traditional energy’s successes of his developing tenure -- citing the opening of a coal mine next week in Pennsylvania and the Dakota Access Pipeline that is now open for business.

President Donald Trump: “A $3.8 billion investment in American infrastructure, that was stalled and nobody thought any politician would have the guts to approve that final leg and I just closed my eyes and just said do it." (APPLAUSE)

For Market to Market, I’m Paul Yeager. 

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