Let’s play infrastructure “two truths and a lie.”
Here are the three statements:
President Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had a productive meeting this past week during which they agreed to spend $2 trillion to improve the U.S. infrastructure network;
This meeting was a success, as past attempts between the political adversaries resulted in no agreement; and
Now that this meeting has taken place, we are well on our way to seeing the influx of capital spending on infrastructure.
Can you tell which statement here is a lie? Let’s take a look at each point individually. Statement #1 is clearly factually accurate. Dominating recent headlines, the President and the two Democratic congressional leaders held a long-awaited summit to talk about infrastructure. Both parties see this as a potential political “win” going into the 2020 elections, so the willpower to work together is high. The $2 trillion number that was established as a result of the meeting is high enough to not only vastly improve our country’s infrastructure network, but also to create a significant number of jobs for hardworking Americans.
Statement #2 is also true. Anyone who even peripherally monitors the news will know that previous meetings between Trump, Pelosi, and Schumer have quickly turned into shouting matches. The media circus that often results from these meetings only serves to deepen the wedge between the negotiators, leaving no resolution to their discussions. But the April 30th infrastructure meeting signals a change in those tactics, leaving many in Washington optimistic about bipartisanship moving forward this year.
This brings us to statement #3. If you haven’t figured it out already, this is unfortunately the lie. While all of the hoopla over the April 30th meeting is certainly good news, we are nowhere closer to an agreement on how to pay for the $2 trillion spending package. Republicans in Congress are still entrenched in their stance that they will not vote for a federal fuel tax increase, which TCA and the larger trucking community wholeheartedly supports. Unless President Trump also publically speaks out in favor of this funding mechanism and provides cover to the members of his party to also stand behind it, there is no way for the $2 trillion to be raised in a timely manner to support infrastructure spending now. Democrats, on the other hand, have also said that they will not support a fuel tax increase unless parts of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, objectively President Trump’s biggest political success thus far, are rolled back.
TCA is doing our part to turn this lie into a truth, and we encourage all who agree that we desperately need increased infrastructure funding in this country to communicate support for a fuel tax increase to your lawmakers. Until we can move the needle on the funding debate, we will continue to be saddled by the status quo, sub-par infrastructure we see today.