[OP-ED]: Trump: Bridging an Unnecessary Wall
Pennsylvania commands a dubious distinction.
Pennsylvania is the state with the nation’s second highest total of structurally deficient bridges according to a Federal Highway Administration analysis updated earlier this year.
The 15 most travelled structurally deficient bridges in Pennsylvania are located in Philadelphia. All are along the I-95 interstate highway, according to a report released a few weeks ago by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.
The massive infrastructure upgrade program promised by President Trump infers repairs to bridges like those battered in Philadelphia…bridges that while not imminently unsafe are in poor condition.
But close examination of Trump’s infrastructure plan reveals a scheme of tax breaks to private companies, firms most likely more interested in pursuit of projects that give them long-term profit like building bridges that charge tolls. There is no recurring big profit just repairing existing bridges.
Yes, infrastructure upgrades generate jobs.
However, hidden in that Trump infrastructure program are big costs for Americans from paying-off the tax breaks given to private companies to paying tolls/fees on many projects funded largely by tax dollars.
It is not clear if President Trump can deliver on his promised infrastructure program since he’s failed to achieve two core campaign promises: better, cheaper health care to replace Obamacare and having Mexico pay for that “beautiful wall” built along America’s border with Mexico.
What is clear is that too many bridges in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and across America need serious repair immediately. The price tag given for fixing just those Top15 most travelled structurally deficient bridges in Philadelphia is $8-billion.
Despite that bridge repair crisis, the infrastructure emphasis that is seemingly Priority #1 for Trump and his confederates is building that wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The cost of Trump’s Wall, according to a recent government estimate, is $66.9-billion…a figure far higher than Trump’s campaign trail claim of $8-10-billion. Budget proposals released recently by the Trump Administration cobbles funding for wall building from deep cuts in social-needs programs from health to housing to water pollution.
Trump extols his Wall as necessary to stop potentially dangerous Mexicans and other Latinos from entering the U.S. despite continuous data showing low crime rates among immigrants. Trump’s Wall will have little impact on illegal immigration from China and other Asian countries that is increasing while Mexican immigration is decreasing.
Trump shades his bigoted targeting of Latinos with another justification for that hugely expensive wall: blocking terrorists.
But none of those identified as responsible for the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks snuck into the U.S. from Mexico. Ditto for the two terrorist who carried out the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Those 9/11 and Boston bombing terrorists entered the U.S. via airports on lawful visas.
Of the 200 companies currently vying for Wall building contracts, 32 are Hispanic owned according to recent news reports.
Trump’s Wall might give some a sense of safety but it will make millions unsafe by snatching critical funding from vital needs like repairing bridges.