President Donald Trump pushed his White House team on Wednesday to craft a plan for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending that would pressure states to streamline local permitting, favor renovation of existing roads and highways over new construction and prioritize projects that can quickly begin construction.
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Mr. Trump said he would was inclined to give states 90 days to start projects, and asked Scott Pruitt, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, to provide a recommendation. He expressed interest in building new high-speed railroads, inquired about the possibility of auctioning the broadcast spectrum to wireless carriers, and asked for more details about the Hyperloop, a project envisioned by Tesla founder Elon Musk that would rapidly transport passengers in pods through low-pressure tubes.
“America has always been a nation of great promise, because we dream big,” Mr. Trump said. “We’re going to really dream big now.”
Our national debt today is just shy of $20 trillion. Debt per citizen is $61,496. Debt per taxpayer is $166,570. The national debt doubled under George W. Bush, and doubled again under Barack Obama. Is it going to double again under President Dream Big?
Something that can’t go on forever, won’t. But somehow I expect that Trumpers will start telling us that This Is Different. Yesterday I saw someone who claims to be on the right literally justify TrumpCare by saying health care is a “national security issue.” Today, “conservatives” like that will justify reaching deep into our pockets at a time of record-breaking historical debt to build . . . high-speed rail.
As for that, Trump should look at the disastrous high-speed rail effort in California before he pursues this idea further. The first segment of California’s implausible scheme, the “train to nowhere” in the Central Valley, is several years behind schedule. As of June 2016, the original $33 billion cost estimate had “more than doubled to $68 billion,” and according to this recent analysis, “likely budget overruns projected out over the remainder of the route, from dense urban areas at the north and south termini to the soggy soils of the San Joaquin River region to the rugged mountains of Southern California, will likely be in the range of another $30 billion, pushing the project’s total cost past $100 billion.”
Yeah, let’s replicate this throughout the country. Great idea, Trump.
Dream big, America!