The Republican Budgets CUT Infrastructure Spending

Dave Johnson

We all know America’s infrastructure is crumbling. Meanwhile, millions of people still need jobs. But in one more of many stunning examples of failure to govern, the Republican budget proposals cut back infrastructure funding even more.

Tax cuts have resulted in years of cutbacks in maintenance that have taken their toll. Bridges are falling, dams are dangerous, port conditions are holding back trade, etc. This is work that has to be done. Doing this work would require hiring millions of people — also something that has to be done. Fixing up our infrastructure would lead to a more efficient economy, better able to help American businesses thrive, and our people prosper. One would think that the country would embark on a project to fix and modernize its infrastructure.

But no, that would involve government spending. Never mind that it would more than pay for itself. It’s still government spending, and the Republicans are ruled by an ideology that says anything government does is bad — even when it is good.

Republican Budget CUTS Infrastructure Spending

In “House, Senate Budgets Have Big Cuts in Transportation Infrastructure,” David Reich of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) explains that the Republican budget outline passed by the House and Senate “cut highway construction and other transportation infrastructure funding over the next decade by 28 percent and 22 percent, respectively, below the cost of maintaining current funding levels.”

“The House budget calls for cutting mandatory funding in the transportation section of the budget by almost 90 percent in 2016, from $54 billion to $6 billion, as the chart below shows. It then allows only a partial restoration, holding funding well below the 2015 level through the middle of the next decade. The total ten-year cut is $154 billion (28 percent) below the cost of continuing current funding.”

The Senate budget cuts funding far less steeply in 2016, from $54 billion to $42 billion; its ten-year cut is $123 billion or 22 percent.

Virtually all of these cuts appear to come from highway and mass transit programs financed through the Highway Trust Fund.

Reich concludes:

Both plans … will result in significantly smaller highway and transit programs at a time when many urge more investment in infrastructure in order to reduce congestion, increase capacity, and improve the performance and safety of our nation’s highways, bridges and transit systems.

In 1983 conservatives released a report promoting school privatization called, “A Nation at Risk.” The report included the line, “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”

Today government-hating Republicans are attempting to impose on America a mediocre infrastructure that will strangle our economic performance. Should we view this as an act of war against the government they hate?

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