OVERVIEW: SELLING OFF ROADS AND WATER SYSTEMS, NEW TOLLS ON WORKING FAMILIES, AND GIVEAWAYS TO HIS BILLIONAIRE PALS
“I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan…If we deliver, we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years.”
-Steve Bannon, 11/18/2016
Trump is promoting what he claims is a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to create jobs. But like most of his other proposals, that’s far from the truth.
Trump’s plan would sell off America’s roads and bridges to Wall Street billionaires, political cronies, and even foreign governments—allowing them to double tolls, create new fees, and put billions of our dollars in their pockets. He also refuses to invest in 21st century projects like clean-energy jobs, expanding broadband Internet, and high-speed rail. And there’s no guarantee it would create a single new job.
We know from polling that if the Administration and its supporters pass a terrible infrastructure bill and succeed in claiming it’s a “jobs bill,” they will win major political points. We cannot let him pass a billionaire giveaway, then lie to the public that he’s created jobs and ask for their votes.
TRUMP’S INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN IS REALLY AN INFRASTRUCTURE SCAM
For a great two minute overview of Trump’s plan, check out Robert Reich’s excellent video:
Rather than invest directly in updating the bridges, roads, airports, water, and school systems that we all depend on, Trump would give away billions of tax dollars to corporations and Wall Street investment firms and leave the rest of us to pay the cost through tolls, fees, and levies over the next decade. The three biggest problems with his plan are:
- Privatization of public assets: Trump’s plan will “entice states and cities into selling their assets to private firms,” trying to make a quick buck by selling off roads, water systems, and other infrastructure. But that’s an old idea that’s never worked. When Chicago recently sold the rights to its parking meters to private Wall Street banks, parking rates downtown doubled. Last year, Chicagoans paid $156 million at privatized meters and garages, and none of that money went to the city.
- Trump Tolls: Why do investors want to buy public infrastructure? Because they want the rights to impose huge new tolls and user fees. Trump proposes to “lift a federal ban that prevents tolling on existing lanes of interstate highways.” Trump Tolls will pop up on highways and bridges, making our commutes more expensive while lining the pockets of hedge fund billionaires as well as investors in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China.
- Tax breaks for his billionaire friends: Trump doesn’t want to spend federal money to build the infrastructure we need. Instead, he’s proposing tax breaks for Wall Street and foreign investors, which could be as much as 82 cents of reimbursement for every dollar they spend on infrastructure. And without a requirement that it be spent on new projects, there’s no guarantee Trump’s plan would create a single new job.
Of course, there are plenty of other problems too, including:
- Rollbacks of environmental protections, and prioritizing pipelines over clean energy jobs;
- Repeal of worker safety and wage protections; and
- Failure to direct funds to disenfranchised communities—like Flint—that need it most.
WHAT CONGRESS CAN DO TO STOP IT
BLOCK ANY INFRASTRUCTURE SCAM FROM PASSING AND FIGHT FOR A GOOD BILL
Trump will need Democratic support to pass an infrastructure bill, especially in the Senate, where Trump needs enough Dem votes to break a filibuster, so Democrats have leverage here. And House Democrats’ support is equally crucial, to build momentum around Democratic solidarity.
Our strategy is to unite Democrats—just as Democrats have stayed united on the health care fight—to hold fast against a bad Trump bill and demand real public investment in creating jobs instead. We should support Democrats who reject the crumbs that Trump is offering our communities, and hold accountable those who show support for Trump’s plans. But few Democrats have staked out a position yet, so our first task is to ask them to endorse the principles that divide a good bill from a bad one.
DEMAND THAT YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS SUPPORT THE #MILLIONSOFJOBS PRINCIPLES
House Democrats have just introduced House Concurrent Resolution 63, the #MillionsOfJobs principles about what does belong in an infrastructure bill and what definitely does not (as described above).
We need to call every Democrat in the House and urge them to to cosponsor this resolution. About 30 have cosponsored to date.
We expect a similar set of principles to be introduced in the Senate soon. Until we have something for senators to cosponsor, we’re asking them to review and confirm they agree with the principles in the House resolution and to speak out publicly about their position.
SAMPLE TOWN HALL OR OFFICE VISIT QUESTIONS
ALWAYS try to incorporate a personal story when speaking with your MoCs.
- Can you commit to me, your constituent, that in any legislation you support, direct public investment, without reliance on private investors, provides the overwhelming majority of the funding for infrastructure improvement, so that public investments advance the public good? And that investments you support will prioritize racial and gender equity and environmental justice?
- Can you commit to me, your constituent, that you will oppose any infrastructure bill that weakens or repeals existing laws or rules protecting the air, water, or environment, transportation safety, civil rights, worker safety, prevailing wage standards, or minority contractor provisions?
- President Trump proposes to “lift a federal ban that prevents tolling on existing lanes of interstate highways.” Trump Tolls will pop up on highways and bridges, making our commutes more expensive while lining the pockets of hedge fund billionaires as well as investors in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China. Can you commit to me, your constituent, that you will oppose any infrastructure bill that will increase tolls and user fees on Americans?
- Selling off public assets is an old idea that’s never worked. When Chicago recently sold the rights to its parking meters to private Wall Street banks, parking rates downtown doubled. Last year, Chicagoans paid $156 million at privatized meters and garages, and none of that money went to the city. Can you commit to me, your constituent, that you will oppose any infrastructure bill that sells off public assets for private profit?
- Instead of funding infrastructure jobs by taxing corporations and the wealthy, Trump’s plan is paid for by billions in new tolls and fees on working families, all going to Trump’s billionaire friends. It’s literally highway robbery. Can you commit to me, your constituent, that you will oppose any infrastructure bill that provides huge tax breaks to billionaires and Wall Street?