Coming Soon: Trump's Infrastructure Plan
An article for Grist by Nathanael Johnson and Matt Graft surveys a collection of experts on how they would spend the $1 trillion promised by President Trump to fix the nation's infrastructure. According to Johnson and Graft, "just about all" of the surveyed experts "panned Trump's ideas," so the article expresses an awareness that Trump might be over promising on this issue.
The collection of experts includes Lynn Richards, president and CEO of the Congress for New Urbanism; Aaron Renn, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute; and Charles Marohn, founder and president of Strong Towns, among others.
In a separate article for CityLab, Anthony Flint provides a dispatch from the APA's National Conference in New York City, where Trump's expected infrastructure plans were "high on the agenda." Here, Flint also expresses reservations about the prospects for Trump's infrastructure plan by calling for a "stop-and-think moment." Flint's main concern: that rushing to build "shovel ready" projects will not allow for quality analysis of how projects will perform once they are built. Instead of "shovel ready", Flint suggests the following criteria:
A more cold-eyed approach fully considers the cost of funding, the length of the investment, and the duration of the benefits generated. Planners need to maximize benefits over the full lifecycle of any project, and be mindful of maintenance costs. Additionally, careful consideration should be given to what economists call non-pecuniary benefits and costs—those hard-to-measure ramifications.
Flint suggests more criteria, including resilience and sustainability, and points out some examples from the region and city surrounding the location of the APA's National Conference of how infrastructure projects can go wrong.