By Robert Weiner and Ryan Powers
Article originally published in The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News
Missing in action amid the hoopla on the barely passed House health-care bill and the broadly supported government funding measure is the promised infrastructure package by President Trump.
During a speech in Kenosha, Wis., on April 18, Trump declared that a sweeping change is on the horizon. "Infrastructure. Big infrastructure bill," he said. "Infrastructure is coming, and it's coming fast."
But just a month before, Philadelphia's city planning director, Anne Fadullon, had addressed the National Press Club in Washington about the uncertainty of necessary infrastructure reform. "We have no more information than you do," she said.
While Trump has repeatedly stressed how easy it is to improve infrastructure, his administration has yet to make any substantive legislative proposal.
Carl Weisbrod, New York City's immediate past City Planning Chairman, asserted that "infrastructure has suffered from decades of disinvestment," and confirmed Trump's assertion that "tiles on the ceiling are missing from the Lincoln Tunnel." Weisbrod added, "Bridges and tunnels are in dire need."
Fadullon remarked that she has been eagerly waiting for the Trump administration to subsidize long overdue infrastructure improvements. "I'm cautiously optimistic," she said. "The hope is significant."
Trump had listed Philadelphia infrastructure as a priority during his campaign and the transition, but has remained silent for months. Congressional leadership has likewise stalled on an infrastructure bill, leaving shaky bridges on I-95 vulnerable to empty promises.
Philadelphia's transit renovations are hanging in the balance. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's 95 Revive project lacks federal funding, due in part to disagreements between Republicans and Democrats.