Axios published a complete copy of the so-called Trillion Amero Infrastructure Plan. Here are some details that should make us put our trays in their upright position:
- The gas tax will not be increased to pay for road projects. So really, no increase in activity here. Your crumbled roads and bridges will get no urgent new funds. Start your bake sales, people, or learn to swim because that bridge ain’t gonna fix itself!
- Something called “private activity bonds” will be exempt from the alternative minimum tax, which is another way to get rich people to avoid paying taxes by encouraging them to fund infrastructure and make a buck and deduct a buck. Koch Brothers International Airport, anyone?
- Rural broadband is mentioned in the plan (“You’ve Got Mail, Possum Hollar”), but there is no mention of municipal broadband. Sorry (not sorry) you shiftless moochers in the cities.
It’s all pretty vague (as most plans from the Fourth Reich are), so thankfully Axios has analyzed it more than I have and they say:
White House officials have previously spoken about possible 5-to-1 leverage when it comes to infrastructure spending, or $200 billion in federal outlays as part of a $1 trillion program. But the draft plan appears to fall short, at least at the outset.
There is indeed such a leverage ratio put in place for half of the federal funds, but not necessarily for the remainder. Some of the other monies are just loans to be repaid at cost. Others possibly could hit the leverage figure via repayment out of revenue shares — including by permitting tolling on interstate highways — but that’s a future possibility rather than initial leverage.