Contact: Donald Gatlin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-587-2871
Evan Martinez, email@example.com, 202-223-2610
(Washington, DC) – On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Toni Harp, Mayor of New Haven, CT and President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), released the following statement in response to President Trump’s infrastructure plan:
“My colleagues and I are disappointed that President Trump failed to honor his promise to invest one trillion dollars in the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. His most recent plan is inadequate in the overall infrastructure funding it commits to provide, and especially inadequate in its lack of attention to the urgent infrastructure crisis facing American cities.
“The President’s plan purports to leverage state and local tax dollars, and private investment, to catapult a $200 billion federal government investment to a total of $1.5 trillion. But, the details of the plan do not support the viability of that goal for the vast majority of cities across the country. In reality, the plan only injects $200 billion of federal money for infrastructure improvements across the country, not the $1.5 trillion touted by the President.
“A key tenet of the President’s plan requires cities and states to demonstrate that they can match new federal dollars flowing their way. However, it is mathematically impractical, and fiscally irresponsible for midsize and small cities to generate the tax revenue and private investment they would need to be able to match the federal money. These cities do not have the populations, budgets, and corporate stakeholders their big city peers can leverage. Their circumstances make it far more difficult for them to raise enough tax and private money to meet the President’s requirements.
“Additionally, the plan does not cede enough control to city leaders to prioritize and allocate the meager funding the plan provides. Every day, mayors navigate the consequences of decades of federal underinvestment in cities. Mayors of the AAMA are on the ground and know best how to bring their cities into the 21st century. Yet, they are forced to navigate a patchwork of state laws that limit their authority to take action.
“According to the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE), it will take $2 trillion to secure modern and viable infrastructure across the nation. Absent that level of investment, ASCE predicts $3.9 trillion in losses to the GDP, $7 trillion in lost business sales, and 2.5 million lost jobs over the next ten years. Accordingly, AAMA-members urge President Trump to act swiftly to avoid these severe economic consequences. The success of this plan will require that he acknowledge the central role cities play in the nation’s economic competitiveness, and honor his promise to dedicate enough federal money to sufficiently address urban infrastructure needs.”