Society

Trump Asks Congress For $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill

| by Oren Peleg

During his campaign for the presidency, President Donald Trump pledged to rebuild the infrastructure of the United States. Now that he's in office, Trump called on Congress to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

"And we've spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled," Trump said in an address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28, notes NPR. "Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways, gleaming across our very very beautiful land."

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the 2013 report card for the nation's overall infrastructure was a D+. A new report card will be released March 9.  "Infrastructure is the foundation that connects the nation's businesses, communities, and people, driving our economy and improving our quality of life," the report states. "Yet today, our infrastructure systems are failing to keep pace with the current and expanding needs, and investment in infrastructure is faltering."

"America has spent approximately $6 trillion in the Middle East," Trump continued in his Feb. 28 speech, notes NPR. "All the while our infrastructure at home has crumbled. With this $6 trillion, we could have rebuilt our country twice, and maybe even three times, if we had people who had the ability to negotiate. ... To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking the Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of the United States financed through both, public and private capital, creating millions of new jobs."

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However, as the numbers break down, Trump's plan may have some issues.

"The trillion-dollar package being discussed is understood to be $100 billion of spending per year for 10 years," Conor Sen writes for Bloomberg. "There are currently 6.8 million construction employees in the U.S. Annualized construction spending in the U.S. at the end of 2016 was $1.18 trillion. Dividing the two, we see that one construction worker supports around $175,000 in construction spending."

He continued: "If one construction worker can support $175,000 worth of construction projects, then $100 billion in spending each year would require an additional 570,000 construction workers, which doesn't take into account truck drivers, project managers, environmental specialists, and all other support staff needed to complete projects."

According to CNN, Trump's infrastructure proposal may be met with bipartisan support. During the presidential campaign, Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont ran on a similar $1 trillion infrastructure overhaul pledge.

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However, as Sen concludes for Bloomberg: "The infrastructure proposal is among Trump's most politically viable, but economics will kill it."

Sources: NPR, CNN, American Society of Civil Engineers, Bloomberg / Photo credit: Daniel Ramirez/Flickr

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