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State of the Union offers a ray of hope for finding common ground in infrastructure development

MARC H. MORIAL | 2/12/2018, 8:02 a.m.
“It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty ...

National Urban League

“It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.” – President Bill Clinton

Since the presidential election last year, the Urban League Movement has been vocal in opposing those of the new administration’s policies, which erode civil rights and opportunities for underserved communities. But we have remained optimistic that we could find common ground in the area of infrastructure development.

In his State of the Union address earlier this week, President Trump sounded a hopeful but vague note on rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure:

I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need. Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment – to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit … Together, we can reclaim our building heritage. We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land. And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.

Analysis of the Administration’s plan has found it “light on federal funds and details.” Of the $1.5 trillion, only $200 billion would come from federal funds – which would be offset by unspecified budget cuts.

Marc H. Morial, former mayor of New Orleans, is president and CEO of the National Urban League. He can be reached through http://nul.iamempowered.com.