Carper Statement on President Trump’s Infrastructure Plan

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement regarding President Trump’s long overdue infrastructure plan that proposes only $200 billion in federal spending over the next 10 years – far short of the $1.5 trillion that President Trump promised and only a tenth of what nonpartisan experts like those at the American Society for Civil Engineers determine is needed to address current deficiencies. The plan largely shifts the funding burden to state and local governments, decimates environmental protections and offers no details as to how to pay for this spending.

“The American people have been waiting to see President Trump’s infrastructure plan for over a year now. On the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump talked repeatedly about a large scale, trillion dollar infrastructure investment. Not only is that the kind of investment so badly needed after decades of inaction, but it was an idea that resonated with voters around the country and had the potential to elicit real bipartisan support here in Congress. Unfortunately, what the White House finally released today is far from Donald Trump’s campaign promise – his infrastructure plan is unrealistic, inadequate and irresponsible.

“I started my career as State Treasurer in Delaware. President Trump can equivocate and talk about leveraging federal dollars, but the math just does not add up. $200 billion is a far cry from the $1 trillion that then-candidate Trump promised, and it’s even further from the $1.5 trillion he touted today. This is nowhere near the investment we need to address the backlog of infrastructure projects across our country and truly modernize our roads, highways, railways, bridges, ports, waterways and expand access to broadband.

“I was also fortunate to serve as Governor of Delaware for eight years, and a plan that relies even more heavily on cities and states that already bear the lion’s share of funding responsibility for infrastructure projects sounds like a bad deal, especially for leaders from rural states. Infrastructure is, and has always been, a shared responsibility with state and local governments. President Trump is now opting to stick state and local governments with the bill, while offering absolutely no real ideas about how we will pay for this plan amidst soaring deficits. 

“But we’ve seen this movie before. With the Republican tax bill, President Trump asked middle class Americans to pay for a giveaway to corporations and the wealthiest among us. Now, with his infrastructure proposal, President Trump is asking already cash-strapped states and local governments to cover the bulk of the cost when it comes to funding long overdue infrastructure improvements.

“Once again, President Trump’s rhetoric doesn’t match reality. Despite all of his promises to help American families and workers, President Trump’s infrastructure plan undermines critical protections that safeguard our air, water and land, give local residents a voice regarding projects in their own communities and help create good paying American jobs. More streamlining provisions for the sake of streamlining provisions are not what is most needed to speed up infrastructure projects – what we really need is long-term, predictable funding. And President Trump has the audacity to release this plan on the very same day that his budget proposes slashing $240 billion from existing infrastructure programs. Well, the American people aren’t fooled. 

“Real leadership means doing what is right, not what’s easy. Real leadership is not passing the buck and refusing to make the tough decisions. President Trump’s infrastructure plan is disappointing and woefully inadequate. I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress – on both sides of the aisle – to develop real solutions to address our country’s vast infrastructure needs in a robust, comprehensive and responsible way.”