Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIR


President Trump on Infrastructure: We Should be a ‘Nation of Builders’ Again

June 7, 2017 (EIRNS)—In an upbeat speech today in Cincinnati, against the backdrop of the Ohio River, President Trump proposed to make the United States a "nation of builders" again, capable of building projects on a par with the Panama Canal, the Transcontinental Railroad, the Hoover Dam, the National Highway system, etc. In the past, he said, we built those projects in record time. But today, "we don’t do that anymore ... we don’t even fix things." Whenever anyone proposes fixing things, they’re told there’s no money. That will change, he said.

Before an audience that included representatives of the United Ironworkers, Building Trades, and Laborers Union, among others, as well as many corporate leaders, Trump insisted that people should be inspired by "our legacy of a nation of builders." We must see into the future, and see that it is bright. Crumbling dilapidated infrastructure—roads, bridges, locks and dams—can no longer be tolerated.

As an example of the "can do" attitude that used to characterize the way Americans got things done, Trump cited the case of New York Governor Dewitt Clinton, who 200 years ago had the kind of "bold, daring vision" that built the Erie Canal—even when Thomas Jefferson told him that the project was "madness." If you want a New Yorker to do something, he said, tell him it’s impossible, and then watch him get it done. Just as occurred when the Erie Canal was built, he vowed, "we will open new paths, just as our ancestors did." Chastising Democrats for being "obstructionist," he called on both Democrats and Republicans to come together to rebuild the United States.

Trump made special mention of the importance of the 12,000 miles of inland waterways on which producers, heavy industry, farmers, and others depend. On the river behind him, was a tow of 12 barges.

"Rivers are the lifeblood of our heartland," he underscored. We depend on our waterways for energy cargo, and yet, our locks and dams are almost half a century old. They are no longer reliable. "There have been no capital improvements." Americans want to build brand new projects, he said. "Skilled workers are waiting to go back to work."

Trump made a point of referencing his decision to pull out of the Paris climate treaty, citing it as an example of "outside interests trying to tell us what to do."

He did not elaborate in detail how he intends to finance his infrastructure program, referencing his plan to generate $1 trillion in investment in infrastructure, $200 billion of which, he said, would come from direct federal investment. The federal government must be a responsible partner, he said, which will work with state and local governments to help them prioritize projects.