Donald Trump accused of breaking his promises on big infrastructure spending

President had pledged $1 trillion for infrastructure during the campaign 

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Thursday 25 May 2017 16:41 BST
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney faces questions from the House of Representatives' budget committee
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney faces questions from the House of Representatives' budget committee (AP)

Democrats have criticised Donald Trump’s proposal to set aside $200 billion (£154 billion) over 10 years for infrastructure, an amount one congressman says is not the big spending that Mr Trump promised during his campaign.

According to the President’s budget request, the funds would be used to encourage companies, as well as state and local governments, to invest at least $800 billion in US infrastructure projects.

While adding $200 billion for infrastructure spending, Mr Trump’s budget would cut the Department of Transportation's discretionary budget by nearly 13 percent, to $16.2 billion.

Calling it a “broken promise of this budget”, Democratic congressman Brendan Boyle asserted that this proposal falls short of the $1 trillion Mr Trump pledged during the campaign, one of his few promises that received support from Democrats.

“Here we are now with the budget plan, and instead of having that $1 trillion plan – something that I would sincerely like to work with him on in this administration in a bipartisan way – it’s actually $200 billion,” Mr Boyle said during a House of Representative budget committee hearing.

“And it turns out that that $200 billion isn’t even real, because included in the same budget is a $95 billion cut in the Highway Trust Fund.”

A section in the White House spending proposal says that the infrastructure plan would “support $1 trillion in private/public infrastructure investment”.

It will take almost $4.6 trillion over the next eight years to bring all infrastructure systems up to an acceptable standard, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers in March.

Democratic Representative Brian Higgins pointed out that China has recently invested $1 trillion in infrastructure projects in other countries to enhance its position in the global economic order.

“I think China’s serious about their growth and I don’t think that we are,” Mr Higgins said, criticising the administration’s request for $1.4 billion to build a wall on the US-Mexican border that Mr Trump had said Mexico would pay for.

“[The administration responds] to a $2 trillion need for American roads and bridges with a pathetically weak $200 billion – maybe.” Mr Higgins said. “I just think that we need a more serious attempt to get away from building walls, and build bridges and roads that are in desperate need of repair throughout America.”

While testifying before the committee, Mr Trump’s Budget Director Mick Mulvaney repeatedly emphasised that private capital investment is more effective and more accountable than government investment.

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