At a White House ceremony Thursday, President Trump honored first responders from Atlanta for their heroic work tending to the stunning bridge collapse that occurred on I-85 two weeks ago. While thanking them for the bravery and skill they demonstrated in preventing any injuries or further destruction, Trump said the collapse was another “painful reminder” of the need for a new national infrastructure program.
“We’re going to be doing a lot with infrastructure,” he said. “You’ll be seeing that over the coming weeks, a tremendous amount. I’m committed to funding a massive nationwide infrastructure program to rebuild, repair and construct the roads and bridges of the future of this country. This is necessary as a matter of both safety and economic growth, and it’s necessary to improve our quality of life as Americans.”
On the campaign trail, a proposed trillion-dollar infrastructure package was one of many ideas Trump had that set him apart from his Republican rivals. And while it’s true that sounds like it would be right up a good liberal’s alley, people on both sides of the spectrum can agree that our roads, bridges, and transportation systems have seen better days.
The Democrats jumped on Trump’s infrastructure promise months ago, developing a roughly $1 trillion plan that included lots of extra goodies that had nothing to do with building and development. Trump barely paid it any attention, proving that he has no interest in slamming the country with another enormous spending program without any reasonable plan to fund it.
But that still leaves open the question of how, exactly, he DOES intend to fund such a program. Perhaps Republicans and Democrats can vaguely agree that “something must be done(!),” but we still have to come together and define that “something” and agree on a way to pay for it.
Some have suggested a clever mixture of private and public investment, paid for in tolls rather than taxes.
Others have urged the president to start a bonds program and allow the American people to invest in the infrastructure program patriotically (and quite safely). This is a strategy that has worked wonders in the past, and it’s one that could work again if you had the right salesman pitching it to the public. And what is Trump better at than selling an idea?
No matter which avenue Trump chooses to pursue, this project has the potential to unite this country in ways our various social agendas can never do. Infrastructure is neutral. If Trump can do it without a tax hike and Democrats can put their passionate hatred for this president aside – just for a minute – this could turn into one of the great bipartisan programs of our time.