Trump's $1 trillion plan inspires 'Hunger Games' angst
Instead of the grand, New Deal-style public works program that Trump's eye-popping price tag implies, Democratic lawmakers and mayorsfear the plan would set up a vicious, zero-sum scramble for a relatively meager amount of federal cash — while forcing cities and states to scrounge up more of their own money, bringing a surge of privately financed toll roads, and shredding regulations in the name of building projects faster.
The federal share of the decade-long program would be $200 billion, a sum Trump himself concedes is "not a large amount." The White House contends it would lure a far larger pool of state, local and private money off the sidelines, steering as much as $1.8 trillion to needs as diverse as highways, rural broadband service, drinking water systems and veterans hospitals. (Maybe even commercial spaceflight, one recently leaked draft suggests.)
The administration isn't expected to issue full details for two to four weeks. But already, the details that have emerged are unnerving some key infrastructure supporters in Congress, who say it's unrealistic to propose such a mammoth program without money to pay for it. They also note that Trump's budget proposals have called for cutting existing infrastructure programs at the Department of Transportation and the Army Corps of Engineers.
“I think we’re down to minus about $200 billion, because I don’t think they have enough money to fund the current program, let alone anything on top of it,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who recently sat in on a meeting with lawmakers and administration officials on the plan. “I don’t see any money from what I’ve seen so far at all. Zero. Not $200 billion, certainly not a trillion.”