DNC chair: Trump doesn't intend to fix Brent Spence Bridge

Posted at 10:22 PM, Jun 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-09 09:02:52-04

CINCINNATI -- It was no accident that President Trump failed to mention the Brent Spence Bridge in his Wednesday speech to Cincinnati, Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez said Thursday evening.

Although the president made big promises about rebuilding infrastructure in the United States, Perez said he doesn't believe Trump has any sincere intention of taking the monkey off of Greater Cincinnati's back. It's not profitable enough, Perez said.

"It's not a toll bridge," he said. "Private investors don't want to invest in it, and private investors are the major beneficiary of the Trump infrastructure plan."

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During his Cincinnati speech on infrastructure, Trump invoked major projects of the past -- including the construction of the Panama Canal, Transcontinental Railroad and Interstate Highway System -- and said that overseas spending has hampered modern large-scale infrastructure improvements.

"We don't do that anymore. We really don't," he said. "We don't even fix them anymore."

Trump did speak about several problems with locks and dams that have delayed barge traffic in the Ohio River and elsewhere. He said he would "reduce burdensome regulations" including environmental reviews to help projects get underway faster.

"We will work directly with state and local governments to give them the freedom and flexibility they need to revitalize our nation's infrastructure," he said.

The Hill reported that the president has indeed floated a plan that would offer billions in tax credits to private investors who back transportation projects, arguing that the involvement of private companies would make construction faster.

However, those companies would likely then seek to recover the cost of their investment through tolling systems on high-traffic roads, the publication reported.

According to Perez, who visited Cincinnati ahead of planned stops in Cleveland and Youngstown, the president's emphasis on bringing private elements into government sectors risks disenfranchising areas and people that private interests don't deem profitable enough to invest in.

"When you have newspaper publications in Washington, D.C., that have called this project the number one infrastructure project in America because the bridge is obsolete and then you have the President of the United States coming in and failing to talk about it, that silence is unconscionable," Perez said.