Tax & Budget

Trump’s Billionaire Infrastructure Scam


Infrastructure is what binds the country together. Roads, transit systems, and broadband keep our economy going; electric grids and water systems power our everyday lives; schools, hospitals, and affordable housing support our communities. But our infrastructure—much of it built for the first time in the 1950’s and 60’s—is getting old. Roads are riddled with potholes and bridges are crumbling. Water and sewer systems are failing to deliver safe drinking water. Our electric grids are becoming less reliable and vulnerable to attack.

We need 21st century infrastructure that is modern and safe and that supports our communities. And we need an infrastructure plan that gets us there.  

Unfortunately, Trump’s infrastructure plan is a failure that will result in public assets being privatized and costs going up for taxpayers through user fees and tolls. It will NOT result in good jobs or better infrastructure -- but it would be a massive handout to hedge funds and an environmental catastrophe that leaves behind the serious needs of too many communities.  

Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Is Really an Infrastructure Scam

Rather than invest directly in updating the bridges, roads, airports, water, mass transit, and school systems that we all depend on, Trump would give another massive tax cut to corporations and Wall Street investment firms, and leave the rest of us to pay for it  through higher state and local taxes, tolls, fees, and levies over the next decade. The three biggest problems with his plan are:

  1. Privatization of public assets: A leaked draft of the framework for Trump’s plan specifies that they will “eliminate constraints on use of public-private” partnerships in transit, even though they don’t save taxpayers money and often lead to cost overruns and missed deadlines. The administration should know this as well as anybody; after all, a major public-private project that started under Mike Pence in Indiana recently collapsed after the contractor in charged “[struggled] to pay subcontractors and meet deadlines.” Encouraging private companies to profit off of public goods is bad for citizens, but good for the developers that are writing Trump’s plan for him.
  2. Trump Tolls: Why do investors want to invest in or buy public infrastructure? Because they want the rights to impose huge new tolls and user fees. Trump’s proposal will lead to a surge in toll roads. Trump Tolls will pop up on highways and bridges, and even mass transit, making our commutes more expensive while lining the pockets of hedge fund billionaires and foreign investors.
  3. 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 investorson top of the massive giveaways in the Trump Tax Scam. 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 communitieslike Flintthat need it most.

What Congress Can Do To Stop It

Fight For a Good Bill that is Comprehensive, Sustainable, and Equitable

Senate Republicans need 60 votes to pass this bill, which means that they need to convince ALL of their caucus PLUS Democrats that they should support this infrastructure giveaway. In the House, Democrats have introduced House Concurrent Resolution 63, supported by the Millions of Jobs Campaign (of which Indivisible is a part). This legislation lays out the principles of what should go into a good infrastructure bill.  

The greater Democratic unity we have on this resolution, the more it officially becomes the position of the Democratic caucus -- making it a lot harder for Senate Democrats to defect. If we hold Democrats in the Senate together, we win. That starts with a strong showing in the House.

Ask Your Members of Congress Support the #MillionsOfJobs Principles

House Democrats have introduced House Concurrent Resolution 63 [H.Con.Res. 63], the #MillionsOfJobs principles about what does belong in an infrastructure bill and what definitely does not (as described above).

Over 140 MoCs have co-sponsored this resolution to date, but a few dozen are still missing. If you don’t see your House member on the list of co-sponsors, call them using the script below and ask them to co-sponsor.

Sample Call Script

If MoC supports the infrastructure plan / isn’t sure

Caller: Hello! My name is [name] and I’m from [part of state]. I’m calling to ask [MoC] to oppose the Trump infrastructure plan because it will sell off our public assets and hurt the environment so that developers and Wall Street can turn huge profits.

Staffer: Thanks for calling. [MoC] thinks it is critical that we rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, but they are waiting to see legislative text for the plan before they decide whether they will support it.

Caller: The framework for the Trump plan makes it clear that he doesn’t actually want to rebuild critical components of our infrastructure like water systems or electrical grids; he just wants to hand mega-projects to his Wall Street friends so they can impose new fees on [MoC’s] constituents to line their own pockets. [MoC] should hold firm against this scam, and vote no on any infrastructure bill that doesn’t have enough federal dollars to really get the job done.

Staffer: I’ll pass on your thoughts.

Caller: Yes please do, and please take down my contact information so you can let me know what [MoC] decides to do.

If MoC opposes the infrastructure plan

Caller: Hello! My name is [name] and I’m from [part of state]. I’m calling to ask [Congressman / Senator] to oppose the Trump infrastructure plan because it will sell off our public assets and hurt the environment so that developers and Wall Street can turn huge profits.

Staffer: Thanks for calling. [MoC] agrees with you; the Trump plan is inadequate, and doesn’t include enough federal money to get the job done.

IF HOUSE MEMBER NOT ALREADY SIGNED ON TO H.CON.RES. 63

Caller: I’m glad to hear it. Will [MoC] commit to signing on to the #MillionsOfJobs principles laid out in H.Con.Res. 63? It already has over 140 co-sponsors, and it draws clear lines around what belongs in an infrastructure bill and what does not.

Staffer: I’m not sure, but I can pass on your thoughts.

Caller: Yes please do, and please take down my contact information so you can let me know when [MoC] decides to co-sponsor.