Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Making A Killing

"Heavens to Archimedes, it’s Infrastructure Week again!" declared Charlie Pierce on Monday. He cites an article in The Guardian in which an Associated Press reporter explains

Officials said the $200bn in federal support would come from cuts to existing programs.

Half the money would go to grants for transportation, water, flood control, cleanup at some of the country’s most polluted sites and other projects.

States, local governments and other project sponsors could use the grants which administration officials view as incentives for no more than 20% of the cost. Transit agencies generally count on the federal government for half the cost of major construction projects, and federal dollars can make up as much as 80% of some highway projects.

The Huffington Post quotes an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech University arguing

Trump’s infrastructure plan flips the traditional capital expense funding model from 80 to 90 percent federal funding to 10 percent federal funding. The majority of the funding mandates get pushed to the states and private funding, with the administration taking credit for the investment.

Under a long-term lease, Ronald ReaganWashington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport are operated by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Although they are legally owned by the federal  government, that may not last long because, as Politico notes

The Trump administration's infrastructure plan released Monday proposes that the feds consider selling off Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

The administration wants to allow federal agencies to divest assets if they "can demonstrate an increase in value from the sale would optimize the taxpayer value for federal assets," according to Trump's blueprint for an infrastructure package, released today.

"Optimize the taxpayer value for federal assets" sounds like Trumpeze for selling off an asset to the private sector. And so

State and local agencies or the private sector may be better at managing assets currently owned by the federal government, the administration argues, and federal agencies should be able to "identify appropriate conditions under which sales would be made." They should also "delineate how proceeds would be spent."

Under the administration's proposal, federal agencies would have to complete an analysis demonstrating an "increase in value from divestiture."

Let me guess: if the asset is a losing proposition for the American people, it will remain in public hands. If it is a desirable asset, it will be relinquished for the sake of private profit.

After the President at his State of the Union address gave the very broad outline of his infrastructure scam, Paul Krugman pointed out there is "no way to turn sewer systems, protective levees on rivers, and lots of other stuff into profit centers." Worse

even where it does work — say, on toll roads and bridges — that private investment doesn’t come free; it’s in return for the ability to collect fees from the public, which is just taxation in another form. And there’s no evidence that doing public investment this way saves any money. On the contrary, it usually ends up costing taxpayers more than just having the government build the thing.

If Trump is proposing it, there are a few sure things: not all of the funding will come from the federal government; he will take credit for the projects; corporations will take a significant cut. Donald Trump will, too.

Share |

No comments:

The Natural Rights of Christian Nationalism

He's right, you know. Despite Wheerler's unearned arrogance, @HeidiReports is absolutely correct. Rights given by a god can be tak...