February 12, 2018
Local Legislators React To Trump’s Infrastructure Plan
“The plan relinquishes the federal government’s age-old role in funding infrastructure and instead puts the burden squarely on city and states,” says Local Progress, national network of progressive municipal legislators
WASHINGTON, DC — In response to the release of a long-awaited infrastructure plan from the Trump administration, Local Progress, a national network of more than 600 local legislators from cities, towns, and counties across the country, released the following statement from Co-Executive Director Sarah Johnson:
“As leaders of cities, towns, and counties across America, we know first-hand just how much of a difference good infrastructure makes. When our communities have clean water to drink, access to safe and modern school buildings and affordable housing, and equitable transit options that increase mobility and access, all of our residents can thrive.
That’s why we’re nothing short of horrified by the so-called plan put out by the Trump administration today, which will take us backwards by making it harder to improve our infrastructure. The plan relinquishes the federal government’s age-old role in funding infrastructure and instead puts the burden squarely on cities and states, while enriching Trump’s wealthy friends. Localities whose budgets are already stretched will need to make an impossible choice: let infrastructure fall further into disrepair or privatize and cut off assets that are supposed to be public goods. By turning new construction into a race for private dollars, the plan all but ensures that wealthy communities will come out on top – while communities that have long been underserved, particularly low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, will be left even further behind.
Our cities are full of examples of bold investments into infrastructure and innovative ideas for funding equitable and sustainable infrastructure. If we want a real plan that improves our roads and bridges and provides clean water and effective public transit solutions, Trump should look to our cities for inspiration.”
In addition, Local Progress Vice-Chair Helen Gym, Philadelphia Councilmember-at-Large, released the following statement:
“As a City Councilmember in Philadelphia who believes in public education, housing, transit, and the quality of life in our cities, I am appalled at an infrastructure plan that would raise state and local taxes, gut environmental protections, and cripple our efforts to address the urgent need for investments that matter to our 1.6 million residents.
In Philadelphia, the average age of a school building is 70 years old. We’ve got aging systems with lead pipes and far too frequent water main bursts, our transit system needs a serious boost to accommodate the millions of riders getting to work and school and opportunity, and I’ve worked with my colleagues to get attention – any attention – to the desperate need for federal support for affordable housing.
In this scenario, there is so much the federal government can and should be doing other than schemes like privatizing our highways, handing out massive tax credits to the wealthiest developers, and neglecting the urgent need for infrastructure investments in public education, housing, public transit and more. We can start with a fund to modernize our nation’s public schools, housing vouchers to help end homelessness, and support for public transit and Amtrak. These investments would make a world of change for cities and townships across this nation, providing jobs and opening up opportunities for all Americans, not just the privileged few.”
Local Progress member Philip Kingston, Councilmember for District 14 in Dallas, Texas, also added the following statement:
“For almost 100 years, Americans and their federal government have agreed that federal tax revenue would fund a robust system of national infrastructure because of the obvious need to ensure that such investments are interstate. We have paid our taxes, in part, in reliance on the promise of substantial and consistent funding for highways, mass transit, equitable and affordable housing, flood control, and air travel.
The proposed cuts to these critical needs are not just foolish, they are a stark betrayal of an explicit compact between citizens and the federal government. Our state and local governments are both structured and funded in reliance on federal infrastructure spending. Without it, it is not just large infrastructure projects that will fail. City and state budgets will be strained reducing services not only to citizens but to businesses, too. One of the first likely effects of the cuts will be to reduce real estate investment as local fees go up to cover the federal shortfall.
Our cities are facing 21st Century threats to their infrastructure. One only has to look to Houston and to the cities affected by Sandy to see the infrastructure threats from climate change. What a shame that the Trump Administration instead wants to reargue the infrastructure debates of the early 20th Century.”
Local Progress is a network of progressive local elected officials from around the country united by our shared commitment to equal justice under law, shared prosperity, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest. Local Progress is staffed by the Center for Popular Democracy.