Trump’s Transportation Plan: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

  1. Reduces red tape to speed up the permitting process for state and local government and private sector transportation projects.

  1. Gives the Veterans Administration flexibility to use vacant properties for commercial and mixed-use purposes and makes it easier for the VA to renovate and build new facilities, thus saving taxpayers money and improving veterans services.

  1. Reduces environmental permitting process to two years, streamlines the process and puts one agency in charge of permitting.

  1. Gives states and local governments more control over how transportation funds are used.


The Bad

  1. “Invests” $200 billion of taxpayer money in infrastructure projects.

  1. Expands funding eligibility for Superfund and brownfield redevelopment sites. Read more about Superfund here and brownfields here.

  1. Extends Pell Grant eligibility to short-term training programs leading to jobs in in-demand fields. Who decides what is in demand? This is just another form of cereal planning.

  1. “Reforms” federal career and technical education programs to ensure more students have access to technical education. A good goal but getting the federal government more involved in any aspect of K-12 education is not the way to increase quality. Instead programs that force schools to divert resources away from technical education must be repealed.


The Ugly

  1. This is sold as a plan to increase growth but this bill commits the fallacy of "that which is not seen." Everyone will see the (temporary) jobs created but no one will see the new goods and services, companies, and (permanent) jobs that could have been created if resources were left in the private sector.

  1. Plan emphasizes private sector income which sounds good but these type of private-public partnerships are hotbeds of cronyism. Private-public partnerships in transportation could increase use of toll roads which force taxpayers to pay twice—once in taxes and then every time they use the roads.

  1. Increasing state flexibility and control is a positive step but the federal government should have no role in transportation. Instead transportation is one of the many functions left to states and local governments under the Tenth Amendment.

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