Let’s call President Trump’s ballyhooed infrastructure plan what it is: a political sham.
That’s not what U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby called it Wednesday during a stopover in Anniston at the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce. But his description of Trump’s proposal was telling, nonetheless.
“We haven’t got any details of that,” he said. “We don’t know if it will go anywhere in its present form, but it’s a start.”
Yes, it’s a start. At least the White House is acknowledging that one of America’s biggest domestic issues is the crumbling of its roads, bridges and interstates, not to mention its collection of aged airports. It is an immense problem ignored by Republicans and Democrats alike for too long. One way or another, the American taxpayer will have to pay for the delayed repairs.
But, no, it’s not much of a plan.
Trump’s talking points claim that more than $1 trillion will go towards infrastructure improvements. On face value, that claim showers the White House with praise for taking such a bold financial commitment. But wait. Trump’s plan puts most of the monetary burden on states and counties, which essentially dooms any chance that his idea would work. As written, the plan calls for the feds to pay only 20 percent of the costs; the remaining 80 percent would come from the states and private sources.
More truth from Sen. Shelby: “A lot of communities, a lot of the counties in this state have no money, let’s be honest.”
Of course, let’s be honest.
Infrastructure ranks low on the sex-appeal meter for government projects, but it’s vital that Americans take this seriously.
Shelby and his colleagues in Congress would be fools if they pass an infrastructure plan based largely on Trump’s 80-20 financial proposal.
This is quintessential Trump-administration politics — a plan with scant details, misleading headlines and a gotcha moment in the fine print that’s bad for most everyone except the Trump White House.
There’s no doubt that Congress should develop a plan to remake America’s infrastructure. We have no doubt that the cost will be ghastly. But it has to be done, and it has to be fair to all.