Trump’s Plan to Address Our Nation’s Ailing Infrastructure: Just Another Disappointment

By: Daniel Palacios

On Monday, President Donald Trump released his long-awaited infrastructure proposal intended to channel badly needed investment to our nation’s system of roads and bridges. The proposal falls far short of what is needed, failing to provide adequate levels of investment while threatening to sideline the interests of Latino communities.

The Trump proposal aims to leverage $1.5 trillion in investments through a mix of federal, state, local, and private spending. The centerpiece of the plan is a proposal to use half of the funding to encourage state and local governments to raise revenue themselves by increasing property taxes, sales taxes, or building new toll roads. Unfortunately, because huge sections of rural America do not have the population or traffic counts to be able to generate sufficient revenue from those types of gimmicks they will be largely shut out of the Trump plan.

A robust infrastructure investment plan would be a significant boon to small businesses in construction, engineering, architecture and related sectors. However, the President’s plan falls short on federal investments and cuts $168 billion of other infrastructure projects. His plan would auction off many of our public infrastructure assets to private companies, while big business benefits from President Trump’s proposal – it does nothing to ensure small businesses get a boost and receive their fair share of federal contracts for new infrastructure projects.

Entrepreneurship creates opportunity and new jobs. With over 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. – a number that is growing at a rate of 15 times faster than the general population – this plan not only fails to foster small business growth, it fails to support the growth of Hispanic entrepreneurship.

Affordable housing is a key pillar of economic mobility, allowing families to spend their hard-earned income on other important resources like food, clothing, and school supplies. Housing is, quite literally, the foundation upon which healthy, vibrant communities are born. But over a quarter of Hispanics are considered severely housing cost-burdened, as compared to less than 20 percent of white households. The fact that the Trump plan calls for no new investment in our nation’s housing infrastructure represents a missed opportunity.

This Administration’s recognition of the need for significant infrastructure investment is a step in the right direction. But the means towards this end remain highly flawed. Without significant revision, this plan could further exacerbate the division between wealthy and low- and moderate-income communities and do more harm than good. We urge President Trump to come to the table and listen, so that we may work together towards an infrastructure plan that works for Latino communities.