The first few weeks of President Trump’s administration have been horrific. From his Muslim ban to his disastrous cabinet nominees, it certainly has been rough for the United States. However, despite this madness, there is one thing we should all look forward to in a Trump presidency: his focus on infrastructure.
During the primary debates, Trump repeatedly called for increased investment in infrastructure, while criticizing the costs of U.S foreign intervention. For instance, Trump criticized Jeb Bush and his brother, former president George W. Bush, stating that the Iraq War was a big mistake. Trump also said that the money spent on Iraq could have been used to repair our crumbling infrastructure.
Look around the West Fourth Street subway station and you’ll see what Trump was referring to. The station — built nearly a century ago — is in dire need of renovation. The tiled walls are dirty and cracked. The tracks are polluted with rats, garbage and the occasional smell of urine. Dry paint peels from the ceiling walls. Further, for students who commute to NYU from New Jersey, the Port Authority Bus Terminal seems like the absolute worst place in the world. Even Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said the terminal is functionally obsolete. Overall, U.S. infrastructure — once the envy of the world — now lags behind most other modern countries. The Society of Civil Engineers gave the United States a paltry D+ in 2013, estimating that a whopping $3.6 trillion of investment would be needed by 2020 to maintain and modernize infrastructure projects.
Trump’s repeated calls for infrastructure investment are a welcome sight. New projects like the Second Avenue subway and the new Westfield WTC Mall show the wonders that can be achieved with infrastructure spending. Even better for New York City, PIX 11 news has reported that Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney stated that in a talk with members of Trump’s transition team, it was decided that the completion of the Second Avenue line would be a priority.
However, Trump has not yet acted on his promises to improve infrastructure. Furthermore, there is wide indication that his plans would include a majority of investment by private companies and individuals in the form of more tax breaks. This could lead to more corporate profits, but not necessarily better infrastructure. Democrats tried to introduce a bill in January that would have invested about $1 trillion into U.S. infrastructure. However, Republicans have opposed the bill, and Trump was suspiciously silent about it. Trump’s talk about infrastructure seems convincing. Now let’s see if he makes good on his plans.
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Email Irfan Suharno at [email protected]