President Donald Trump claims that a $200 billion investment by the federal government will lead to nearly $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure spending—when it’s leveraged in the private sector over 10 years. That’s the gist of the long-promised “plan” he released on Feb. 12.
But as we’ve seen before, when the president makes big plans and claims that someone else will pay, he’s scamming us.
Trump’s infrastructure plan hinges on a $100 billion matching grant program for states and cities to launch their own projects, with additional funds coming from a $50 billion rural investment program, along with a few other line items. That’s supposed to entice private companies to come out of the woodwork and rebuild America to the tune of $1.5 trillion.
Just like Mexico won’t pay for a border wall, private investors won’t pay for roads, bridges, and energy infrastructure just because the president says they will. Kicking federal obligations to private companies doesn’t work that way.