With funding for the wall stalled, with healthcare through the House, with the fundamentals of a massive Trump tax cut and tax reform effort laid out, many in the White House are now turning their attention to another critical Trump campaign promise: infrastructure investment.
On the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump promised to rebuild American roads, bridges, airports and railways – and in the process – put millions of Americans back to work and grow the American economy.
In an interview given in November, just after Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton that shocked the political establishment, Steve Bannon, the President’s Chief Strategist – and one of the ideological flame keepers of Trumpism – talked about a one trillion dollar infrastructure plan. This trillion dollar infrastructure plan would be the core of Trump’s economic nationalism, and it is a plan that will not bury us further in debt with hundreds of millions in new spending but instead take advantage of public-private partnerships to leverage the billion dollars.
As Bannon told the Hollywood Reporter, “I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything.”
Bannon knows that by creating jobs and rebuilding the American working class, Republicans can create something of a permanent majority in this country. “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia… If we deliver… we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years. That’s what the Democrats missed. They were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It’s not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about.”
Bannon is absolutely right. We can rebuild the American working class. If successful in that endeavor, we can build a political majority for decades and we can do so without bankrupting future generations with new taxpayer spending.
One of President Trump’s favorite example is airport infrastructure needs. On the campaign trail, candidate Trump frequently bemoaned the state of U.S. airports – particularly as opposed to some of our international neighbors. President Trump has promised to build great 21st century airports. The problem, of course, is that a recent study shows that American airports currently have $100 billion in unmet infrastructure needs. The good news is that those needs can be met exactly as Bannon and the Trump campaign envisioned.
Conservative Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) has co-authored legislation with Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR) that would remove the arbitrary federal cap on the passenger facility charge (PFC) – allowing individual airports to set their own PFC without federal involvement.
By allowing airports to raise the funds locally from the passengers who actually use the airports – rather than federal taxpayers – the Massie/DeFazio bill would allow airports to make critical investments in infrastructure.
This move would not only allow us to rebuild our airports – without spending a dime of federal taxpayer dollars – it would also return control to the individual local airports and away from Washington, DC.
This is why so many conservative and libertarian organizations like the Competitive Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks and Citizens Against Government Waste have explicitly endorsed the effort.
Bannon can mark another promise made as a promise kept from his infamous White House white board if the Trump administration joins with other conservatives in supporting the Massie/DeFazio effort to get the federal government out of the airport business.