Trump Doubles Down on Hillary

Last week, the Antiplanner compared the Republican Party platform, which promised to reduce wasteful transportation spending, with the Democratic platform, which promised a huge increase in infrastructure spending. Yesterday, Trump endorsed the Democratic side, promising to double whatever Hillary says she will spend. Since Hillary Clinton has called for about $275 billion worth of spending on infrastructure, Trump must want to spend more than $500 billion.

“We have many, many bridges that are in danger of falling,” said Trump. Not exactly. According to the Federal Highway Administration, in 2015 the United States (including Puerto Rico) had 58,791 “structurally deficient” bridges. But that doesn’t mean these bridges are in danger of falling. “Structurally deficient” means that the bridge has some defect that may require greater-than-normal maintenance or limit the amount of weight that can cross the bridge.

As near as I can tell, the last time a bridge fell because it was structurally deficient was 1989, shortly proceeded by one in 1987. Those collapses led to new rules and monitoring systems that have greatly reduced, if not eliminated, the problem.

Based on the new monitoring systems, in 1992 the Federal Highway Administration estimated that 124,072 highway bridges were structurally deficient, nearly 21 percent of the total. That number has declined every year since then, and now stands at less than 10 percent of the total. These facts suggest that a huge new infrastructure program isn’t needed.

The bad thing about Donald Trump is that he opens his mouth before investigating the real facts. The good thing about Donald Trump is that he seems to learn from his mistakes. Whether he’ll get a chance to learn from this one depends on the voters in November.

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5 thoughts on “Trump Doubles Down on Hillary

  1. paul

    “The good thing about Donald Trump is that he seems to learn from his mistakes. ”

    Donald Trump does not seem to have learned to use a teleprompter and only use scripted speeches in spite of tremendous pressure from the Republican party. If he cannot learn this basic issue, why do we expect him to learn any other issue?

    After this past week I consider him totally unfit to be president. It is highly probably that he will increase spending on rail transport to New York and other cities where he has considerable real estate interests. After all, this would benefit him, and taxpayers expense. In his past business dealings he seems able to get other investors to put up money, and if the venture fails only they loose money, not him. He is not someone who should be trusted with the presidency.

  2. JOHN1000

    “Donald Trump does not seem to have learned to use a teleprompter and only use scripted speeches in spite of tremendous pressure from the Republican party.’

    Having a President who can only read from a teleprompter is not good.
    Having a President who only reads scripted speeches is not good.
    Having a President who only acts upon the orders of the leaders of the Republican party is definitely not a good thing.

    There are many criticisms that can be leveled at Trump but this comment is simply ridiculous.

  3. Frank

    I misread the headline as “Trump goes down on Hillary” and the mental image made me almost lose my breakfast.

    “The bad thing about Donald Trump is that he opens his mouth before investigating the real facts.”

    In other words, he is constantly making shit up.

  4. prk166

    Why doesn’t the I35W count as a collapse? IIRC it wasn’t simple a design issue but gusset plate(s) that didn’t fail. Yes, the design at the time it was built should’ve been more robust . But there was a lack of maintenance issue that lead to it’s collapse, too, correct?

    Or was the load on the bridge due to construction materials and equipment there higher than it was designed to handle? So the problem wasn’t really maintenance but more basic?

  5. C. P. Zilliacus

    If a bridge is in such bad condition that it is in danger of total failure, then the structure will be closed to all traffic. Before that happens, it may be posted by the state DOT to limit weight of passing trucks to less than the normal maximum allowed.

    But bridges that are structurally deficient are likely to be in need of major and often very expensive repairs (such as deck replacement). I think it is also important to remember that a related category is functionally obsolete (there is presumably some overlap between structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, but a bridge defined as structurally deficient is automatically excluded from the functionally obsolete category).

    Now this does get to another issue – in my (small) state, there are 306 structurally deficient bridges. Exactly one of those bridges is on the state toll-maintained highway system, and replacement of this bridge is funded and should be under way within a year.

    Of course, no number of structurally deficient bridges will ever justify questionable and ineffective projects that the Antiplanner has written about more than once over the years.

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