WASHINGTON, June 7 – President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan would be a huge giveaway to Wall Street, foreign governments and billionaires at the expense of working families, according to a new report prepared for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the Senate Budget Committee's ranking member.
“Under Trump’s proposal, billionaires on Wall Street, wealthy campaign contributors and even foreign governments would receive hundreds of billions in tax breaks to purchase our highways, airports and water treatment plants. They would then be allowed to impose huge new tolls and fees on the backs of American commuters and homeowners,” the report says.
“Donald Trump’s so-called infrastructure plan is a huge giveaway to Wall Street that fails to create the millions of jobs we need to modernize our roads, bridges, water systems, rail, airports, levees and dams.”
Instead of spending the $2 trillion above current spending levels that the American Society of Civil Engineers says we need to get our infrastructure back to a state of good repair, Trump would cut direct federal spending on our crumbling infrastructure by nearly $145 billion over the next decade.
Trump’s plan relies heavily on the use of privatization schemes to finance infrastructure projects with wealthy investors. Such financing is repaid by ordinary citizens through a combination of taxes and user fees and is significantly more expensive than traditional government financing.
Similar plans in cities and states to privatize infrastructure have repeatedly failed, left critical infrastructure in disrepair and cost Americans billions of dollars.
In Chicago, a private investor group led by Morgan Stanley will collect $11 billion as part of its 75-year contract to run the city’s parking meters. Oarking prices have gone up by as much as 800 percent in some neighborhoods, and incredibly, the city has been forced to pay $31 million and counting to cover lost revenue whenever a street is temporarily closed for maintenance.
In Indiana, tolls on a privatized road more than doubled this month as the road deteriorates and commuters wait in long lines and visit unsanitary rest stops.
In Bayonne, New Jersey, many homeowners are at risk of foreclosure because they cannot afford water bills that have skyrocketed nearly 28 percent after the water system was taken over by a private equity firm.
Trump’s plan also fails to address critical infrastructure needs in rural areas, where smaller-scale projects may not be profitable enough to attract private equity investors.
“Donald Trump wants to hand over critical public infrastructure to private investors who will squeeze profits from the American people by putting up new tolls and exorbitant user fees. That is unacceptable. We shouldn’t be selling off our infrastructure to billionaires to make huge profits on the backs of working people,” Sanders said.
Sanders and Senate Democrats have proposed a plan to invest $1 trillion in rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure and creating 15 million good-paying jobs.
To read the report, click here.
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