Learn today, plan for tomorrow.
Sign up for news and offers from Planetizen Courses, the online learning platform for planners.
Jeff Stein provides analysis and commentary on the track record of the Trump administration on infrastructure—one of the key planks of the platform that won the president the election in 2016, but has since become a punchline for pundits.
Trump can claim credit for pursuing and at least partially fulfilling many of his key 2016 economic campaign pledges, such as cutting taxes, slashing government regulations and revamping America’s international trade deals. But on one central part of his economic pledge — a massive infrastructure package — the president has much less to boast of on the campaign trail.
The evidence backing this accusation includes receipts:
Trump has through four years in office failed to advance infrastructure legislation through Congress. Under his administration, federal investments on roads and bridges as a share of the economy have remained stagnant, while federal spending on water infrastructure projects have fallen to a 30-year low.
For the counterargument, Stein cites Trump's speeches on the campaign trail in 2020, where the president talks about the border wall ("We consider that infrastructure," said the president at the Economic Club of New York earlier this month) and the deregulatory accomplishments of the administration, which have reduced environmental review for infrastructure projects.
Stein finds many blue collar workers in battle ground states who are more interested in the lack of spending for infrastructure (Trump promised as much as $2 trillion in spending) and bureaucratic drag on other projects, even before the pandemic proved inadequate to inspire action by Republican leadership as it lingered past the summer.