Will Trump Make Infrastructure Great Again?

Reason's Bob Poole discusses why he's encouraged by Trump's early moves on transportation policy.


"What we know [about Trump] so far is that he talked a lot about crumbling infrastructure and the need to make America's infrastructure great again," says Bob Poole, Searle Freedom Trust Fellow and the Director of Transportation Policy at the Reason Foundation. "This suggests a big new emphasis on some kind of federal transportation program."

Poole sat down with Nick Gillespie to discuss the transportation policies likely to be introduced in the new Trump administration and reasons for libertarians to feel hopeful when it comes to the president-elect's infrastructure plan. "I'm encouraged by what I see," says Poole, who cites the involvement of Shirley Ybarra, a former Reason Foundation fellow and Secretary of Transportation in the state of Virginia, as a sign that Trump will look to public private partnerships as part of his transportation strategy.

During the campaign, Trump proposed a transportation plan that would cost at least $500 billion dollars, but has been vague as to how the program would be financed.

Poole says that the best way to raise funds is to treat infrastructure as a public utility. "People get their highway bill every month like they get their electric bill and water bill," Poole states. "They're paying for what they use and only what they use. They're not subsidizing a whole bunch of other projects that they never see."

Watch the video above for the full conversation.

Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Alexis Garcia. Camera by Meredith Bragg and Jim Epstein. Music by Topher Mohr and Alex Elena and Jingle Punks.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Like us on Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter.

Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes.

NEXT: Unnecessary $54 Billion Transit Package Passes Easily in Seattle

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Why don’t they use spoons, then?”

    1. Muh ROADS!

      There’s a cute visual gag in last panel if you compare it to the original…

      1. With a long brown streak like that, thought he might be a cop.



  3. needs more “shovel-ready jobs!”

  4. . “People get their highway bill every month like they get their electric bill and water bill,”

    My issue is that we start getting a new bill to pay every month but never see a reduction in taxes in even though we are no longer funding these things through direct taxation.. they just find something else to spend the money on..

    1. I see you are wise in the ways of government.

  5. SIEGEL: Bertram de Souza of The Vindicator thinks Donald Trump is playing to the same sentiment that Traficant played to 30 years ago.

    DE SOUZA: When Donald Trump came to town the first time and talked about I’m going to bring back steel jobs, there were these visions of these huge mills along the river reopening. And I said hold on a minute, a French company recently opened a steel mill in this area – $1.1 billion they invested, 400 people hired. It’s all automated. It’s all robots.

    And I say to these people, even if Donald Trump is able to reopen the steel industry in America, they’re not going to hire 50,000 people. But they don’t want to hear that. What they want to hear is Donald Trump is going to bring back the steel industry. He’s going to bring back all of the jobs that were sent overseas. He’ll force these corporations to do that. And they’ve bought that.

    1. Yet when Nick pointed out the idiocy of this vision in the debate, Walter Block accused him of having an industrial policy.

      1. Do you have a link to that?

    2. I think I read in the NYT interview when asked about bringing back factories only to have them staffed with robots, Trump said something like “we’re going to build those robots.”

      No indication the thought is any deeper than that, but a good enough answer to completely shut down the NYT’s editors and journalists on the issue.

      Technically isn’t that the correct attitude? I don’t think we should give two shits about bringing steel jobs back, but we sure as fuck should be making robots.

  6. I suspect the Orange One thinks he ‘knows’ about this building-things stuff because owns hotel or some-such. It will be his pet sammich, like Shrub and the switch-grass because Shrub knew Bumfuck, Texas or the Lightworker’s fantasy about controlling the sea because Lightworker knew he’s Prog Jesus.

  7. Reason Magazine advocates for brutality*


    *also confused on political classification.

    1. Yes, it’s partly funded by the left’s least favorite family, the Kochs. Yes, it habitually shills for nasty industries like big oil and big tobacco. Yes, libertarian connections with the far right, their support for a brutal economic doctrine, and preparedness to get into bed with the worst reactionaries mean that we will never see eye to eye.

      1. At worst, we could steal some of their lines.

        They want to steal our jokes!

        1. Fuck you, squirrels. My tags were correct.

          1. A.M. lynx have been super squirrely lately, so I skipped them tonight and watched Fury instead. Imagined the SS soldiers at the end were Hugo Bossed up rodents.

    2. their support for a brutal economic doctrine, and preparedness to get into bed with the worst reactionaries mean that we will never see eye to eye

      Wow, there’s some awesome, non-documented generalizations there.

      1. Nick should respond to these vile slurs and charges.

    3. Their part about Reason was full of ad hominems, but there is this:

      “In recent years, parts of the left have been ambivalent about the first amendment. Now, given Trump’s authoritarian instincts in the face of even the mildest criticisms, sticking up for free speech might be seen as a tactical necessity.”

      Ya think?

      1. A tactical necessity? WTF?
        “Guys, we are gonna have to suck it up for a while and stick up for free speech, while Trump is in power.”

    4. I love how liberals classify libertarians as conservative, and conservatives classify libertarians as liberal.

      1. In my experience, conservatives want libertarians o their team. Liberals, otoh, often say libertarians are worse than conservatives.

      2. I love how liberals classify libertarians as conservative, and conservatives classify libertarians as liberal.

        I think how ‘libertarian’ fits into the left vs. right world-view is difference in order-of-operation.

        a) Conservatives say they are libertarians except this, this, and this, and this, etc.

        b) Liberals say they are NOT libertarians except this, this, and maybe this, etc.

    5. Ah.

      Jason Wilson *knows*.

    6. Now, given Trump’s authoritarian instincts in the face of even the mildest criticisms, sticking up for free speech might be seen as a tactical necessity.

      Well, it’s nice for the left to admit that “sticking up for free speech” is nothing more than a “tactical necessity” for them to oppose a candidate they don’t like.

      Oh, and fuck you, slavers!

  8. I get a highway bill every month. It is called a gas tax. There is no reason why we can’t continue to fund roads with gas taxes. We just need to stop letting Congress and the states steal the money and use it for stupid shit like light rail projects instead of roads.

    1. Atlanta recently decided to drop $100 million on a streetcar that absolutely nobody wanted and runs from nowhere to some other nowhere that you can walk to in 20 minutes. Giant federal/city boondoggle. I see probably 50 of these things a day and nobody is ever on one and they screw up traffic.

      One guy in the article calls it “possibly the worst U.S. transportation project ever constructed as a vehicle.” And that is absolutely correct.

      I wonder how many more of these projects there are. Fixing up the highways and things people actually use is one thing. These light rail projects are mostly just stupid.

    2. You get a gas tax in the mail? From what agency?

    3. Don’t forget the ‘art’ requirement for federal projects. Kill the federal gas tax and let the states do their own thing, especially on competition between tax rates which requires the elimination of IFTA. Let the market work.

      1. Or states that have similar. The local DOT put up these metal “sculptures” during a recent project as part of the 1% requirement. Ugly wastes of space. Does nothing towards the supposed purpose of beautification but checks off that box.

  9. So that’s what Bob Poole looks like. Huh.

  10. I occasionally hear someone bring up the idea of privatizing this or that. And I’m generally a big fan.

    But, with something like the FAA or the TSA, what company would take that on? So now you’re “aggressively utilizing” the airspace because “technology has improved” and that’s all true. But the first time two airplanes collide and 600 people die and the media focuses on that for a year, what is the company liable for? Of course they would have to carry insurance, but what insurance company is going to go for that?

    It’s a total unknown and there’s nothing in the actuarial tables for it. Statisticians can model to their hearts’ content, but without any prior knowledge, there simply isn’t much information to go on.

    1. Also: if TSA continued to conduct pat-downs like they do know, how long before the corporation was sued out of existence?

      1. Exactly. Even a small hiccup (that would likely happen everyday), like security was understaffed and 150 people missed their flights and 5 people had their interviews cancelled…. That shit would happen every single day. Like it or not, government just simply doesn’t have to give a fuck about that, like a company would. That would definitely encourage better customer service. It would also be a nightmare for the company.

        1. Yet somehow other industries, malls, theme parks, concert venues, etc. all manage security screening without federal fuck-ups fucking up.

          I think your premise is maybe shit.

    2. You act like there has never been a mass transit accident.

      1. Not at all. What I’m saying is that if the company is doing something “new” that has even an ounce of “unproven” in it, it will have upsides, but it will also be a huge liability and a pain in the ass to insure. They will get sued into oblivion for being “reckless” if they try to optimize anything, which is half of the point of privatization.

    3. Privatizing Air Traffic Control? That’s the last straw!
      I’m moving to Canada.

      1. Only hosers fly in canada, eh?

      2. You can’t, I’m afraid: unlike the US, Canada is pretty strict about enforcing its immigration laws, limiting immigration to people with skills, and limiting the total number of immigrants. You know, kind of like what Trump has been advocating.

    4. The FAA was once the CAA, as in civilian. The Feds took it over after the Lockheed passenger jets started breaking up due to stress fractures. Never let a crisis go to waste. The AOPA could run the FAA much better.

    5. In the video, Mr. Poole lists 4 or 5 countries that have already privatized their versions of the FAA. One could use those examples to model how a private company, or companies, would work with the airlines, the insurance carriers, and governments from municipalities to the federal government. Not saying it would be easy ,as wresting power from the government’s clutch is never easy, but it can and should be done. There is probably comparable opportunities for rail, shipping, and every other transportation system. Good video.

    6. But the first time two airplanes collide and 600 people die and the media focuses on that for a year, what is the company liable for?

      A lot more than the federal government, which is liable for nothing.

  11. If you haven’t read anything by Gabriel Roth, it’s worth the effort.

    Some starting points listed in this CATO blog post

    User fees enable a lot more choices in how roads are provided, and who provides them, but also require care to avoid major problems with privacy.
    The issue of eminent domain may also raise concerns, though not at the Kelo level (since it’s “public use”, not some nebulous “public purpose”). Though this may be a negative for the hatman.

    1. Gas tax or a mileage tax are reasonable proxies for this. Better gas mileage means a lighter vehicle and generally less road wear. Poole’s toll fetish hasn’t been supported by anything I’ve read by him.

  12. Start by eliminating IFTA

  13. better known as sinking the USA deeper into debt..

    Trump will continue to offshore US jobs…..

  14. The Koch Bros are controlling Trump!

    Does Trump Even Know the Koch Brothers Are Pulling His Strings?


  15. Everybody can earn 150$+ daily… You can earn from 4000-9000 a month or even more if you work as a full time job…It’s easy, just follow instructions on this page, read it carefully from start to finish… It’s a flexible job but a good earning opportunity.. go to this site home tab for more detail
    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.factoryofincome.com

  16. Work oppertunity: Start your work at home right now. Spend more time with your family and earn. Start bringing 85USD/hr just on a laptop. Very easy way to make your life happy and earning continuously.last week my check was 24551USD pop over here this site

    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://JobNews80.com

  17. my neigbour recently purchased Infiniti FX SUV just by part time work from a laptop. try this site>>>>>>>>>>> http://bit.ly/2g9UUPL

  18. My first job out of High School was at St Paul and over the next 5 years Iearned so very much. Seeing the hospital torn down tears a small piece of my heart out. The Daughters of Charity and the doctors and staff of St Paul Hospital will always be with me..???????
    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.homejobs7.com

  19. The best part of work is from comfort of your house and get paid from $100-$2k each week. Start today and have your first cash at the end of this week. For more info Check the following link

    ==================> http://www.homejobs7.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.