Don’t get too excited about Trump’s promise to invest $1.5 trillion in transportation

Not so fast.

U.S. President Donald J. Trump (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald J. Trump (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

At his 2018 State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Trump claimed he will call on Congress to produce a bill that “generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need.”

“Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment — to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit,” he said.

Advertisement

Donald Trump may be overselling that $1.5 trillion investment figure. In reality, according to past statements his administration has made over the past year, the actual investment of federal dollars in any investment plan is likely to fall somewhere around $200 billion. The rest of the cost will likely be left to the states, which will need to use their own revenue to fund local infrastructure initiatives.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Trump administration also plans to simultaneously cut other infrastructure spending areas that would ultimately, overtime reduce annual federal funding for surface transportation.

A leaked draft of Trump’s full infrastructure proposal obtained by the Washington Post this month revealed a number of troubling plans, including proposals to further weaken environmental requirements, limit judicial intervention in the approval process, and shorten building timelines.