Donald Trump is doling out the taxpayers’ dollar bills, and everyone and their brother is leaping at the chance to lap it up.
In this case, should the Trump administration heed their request for investment, Americans would likely be far better for it. President Trump has promised to contribute $1 trillion to infrastructure projects, and public transit groups are vying to be noticed by the administration for a portion of this funding.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) provided a strong business case for investing in public transit, in terms of the kickbacks that would be reaped as a result.
On Monday, they drew attention to recent data which demonstrated that a $200 billion investment in public transportation would generate an average of one million jobs over the course of 10 years. It would further improve the gross domestic product (GDP) by $800 million over the next 20 years. Thirdly, that most of the capital that is put into public transit goes back into the private sector, which APTA must know Trump will love to hear:
‘Seventy-three percent of all capital money that goes into transit flows back into private sector.’
Interestingly, if President Trump decides to move forward with giving public transportation some of the infrastructure funding, he would not be the first president in modern history to hear their logic. If Americans recall, President Barack Obama tried to institute a very modern, clean-energy public transportation program during his tenure — but was unable to get it through Washington to be implemented. In a cruel twist of fate, Obama wanted to undertake this program on the dollar of oil companies, not taxpayers as Trump is planning, but let’s not pour salt in our wounds.
Richard A. White of APTA further discussed the value of public transportation in modern life, as a part of this interview, claiming:
‘Transit is the backbone of a multi-modal lifestyle.’
The Trump administration, meanwhile, is still in the very early stages of this plan; discussing and deciding what they’re going to do. It would be nice to say that they’re presently in the ‘information compilation stage,’ but with this administration, and their favor of alternative facts to real facts, Americans ought to have significant doubts.
Also concerning is the fact that Donald Trump’s been known to solicit and follow advice and reports from the Heritage Foundation, who released a suggested budget which decimated public transit federal funding.
At the event held by APTA, Eric Wolf of Altoona Metro Transit (Pennsylvania) articulated that cutting public transit however, is not a smart move politically:
‘There was a Republican chairman … that tried to zero out public transit, and it went down in flames. So yes, it could be possible to do an infrastructure funding package without [public] transportation, but it failed miserable recently.’
At least it sounds as though Americans will not have to wait long to get information from President Trump on the nature and distribution of these infrastructure projects. It was reported Thursday that Trump is allegedly pushing White House staff to get the ball rolling on this.
The infrastructure plan is another promise from the campaign trail that Donald Trump is keeping, and at that time he specified it would be primarily for public works projects such as rebuilding roads, airports and bridges.
The Wall Street Journal identified last week that Trump had said that he was only going to give states 90 days from the release of funds to the beginning of the project(s):
‘We’re not going to give the money to states unless they can prove that they can be ready, willing and able to start the project.’
Anyone who has worked in the environmental assessment side of public works projects knows that rushing states to commence projects within 90 days will mean sub-standard to totally absent assessments, and therefore a lack of provisions for the environment on these projects.
Of course, for plausible deniability on the matter, Trump did ask the moronic Scott Pruitt, his head of the Environmental Protection Agency what he thought of the 90 day plan. Pruitt recently articulated that he doesn’t believe in the wealth of research which says carbon dioxide is a major contributor to climate change — so why on earth should anyone ask or trust his opinion?
Well, this is Donald Trump we’re talking about.
Hopefully he will recognize though, that the APTA truly has solid information and insight, and that America would benefit greatly from improved public transportation funding.
Feature Images via Getty Images/Andrew Burton.