Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Shifts Burden to States and Localities; Provides No Help to Housing

Following remarks made during the State of the Union address, President Trump released his Administration’s infrastructure plan in mid-February.

According to the proposed White House plan, the federal government will provide $200 billion in funding for the nation’s roads, bridges, rail, ports, and waterways, stimulating an additional $1.3 trillion in infrastructure spending through private sector and state/local investment. The central assumption of the proposal is that infrastructure investment can and should be shifted away from the federal government, instead placing the burden on states, localities, and the private sector. The Administration has not commented on how states and localities will raise these funds.

CLPHA has long maintained that affordable housing plays a central role in the nation’s infrastructure. Like roads and bridges, affordable housing is a long-term asset that helps communities and families thrive. Public housing itself represents a significant investment on the part of the federal government – over $162 billion, including land costs. Under the last major federal infrastructure investment bill, housing authorities were efficient, effective, and innovative in using capital funds, quickly spending on projects that bolstered economic growth, created jobs, and improved opportunity and quality of life for residents.

However, the plan does not include funding for housing infrastructure.  The proposal also runs counter to the Administration’s proposed FY19 budget, which makes cuts to several agencies and programs that support infrastructure projects, including the TIGER and Highway Trust Fund programs at the Department of Transportation, as well as crucial affordable housing programs at HUD, including the Public Housing Capital Fund, Choice Neighborhoods, and CDBG.

As Congress moves to develop an infrastructure bill, CLPHA will continue to strongly advocate that federal investment in housing should be a top priority. In 2007, a CLPHA study on the economic benefits of public housing found that the program successfully creates jobs and acts as an economic generator. Through the leveraging of public and private resources, public housing helps to increase resident earning, contribute to local tax revenue, and support job creation and retention. In fact, for every $1 spent on public housing capital funding, an additional $2.12 is generated in regional economic activity.

This information was crucial to securing a $4 billion federal investment in capital funds for public housing under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. CLPHA has commissioned an updated study to the 2007 report, which will be released soon.

Below, please find links to CLPHA materials on infrastructure:

Infrastructure and Public Housing Fact Sheet

Report: Assessing the Economic Benefits of Public Housing

Public Housing Stimulus Funding: A Report on the Economic Impact of Recovery Act Capital Improvements