How to Start Thinking About What a Trump Presidency Means for Cities

November 22, 2016

There are more questions than answers for now, but let’s begin here.

Mike Segar/Reuters

We know that many of the president-elect’s big policy moves are likely to have a ripple effect in America’s cities, including immigration, health care, global trade, criminal justice, and gun control. But let’s take a look at something more nuts and bolts: the day-to-day business of municipal fiscal health, as it relates to the provision of basic services, infrastructure, and housing.

Few would guess that Donald Trump, despite being a New Yorker, is likely to be a champion of cities—for one thing, the rural vote that appears to have propelled him to office outmatched returns out of traditionally Democratic places such as Detroit or Philadelphia. Nor did Trump ever get down to policy specifics about cities; it’s not like he ever threw around terms such as Community Development Block Grants.

But Trump could actually end up helping cities function better. It was lost amid a lot of other headline-grabbing comments, but on the stump, Trump spoke intermittently but consistently about fixing “inner cities” and investing in infrastructure, and he did so again in his victory remarks in New York City at 3 a.m. Wednesday.

"We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, schools, hospitals," Trump said. "We will rebuild our infrastructure. Which will become second to none, and we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it."

There’s not yet detail regarding implementation, but Trump has proposed a $1 trillion, 10-year infrastructure plan that could include billions in tax credits to leverage private investment. There’s already talk of an infrastructure bill being one of the potentially marquee first-100-days legislation (though uncertainty about financing continues to raise questions and concerns, particularly with respect to the future of the tax-exempt municipal bond market under Trump).

Will it be enough, and what type of infrastructure would be funded? At one point during the campaign, we were asked to help fact-check a statement by Trump, that “Hillary … wants to spend hundreds of billions to resettle Middle Eastern refuges in the U.S.,” and that “for the amount of money Hillary Clinton would like to spend on refugees, we could rebuild every inner city in America.” This required some unpacking, since Clinton never proposed spending “hundreds of billions” on refugees, but we took a look at what it would take to “rebuild” struggling cities.

The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that it will cost $3.6 trillion by 2020 to bring the nation’s infrastructure up to a high standard. Since 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in urban areas, the urban infrastructure gap might be seen as roughly $3 trillion. Repairing the lead pipes just in Flint has been estimated to cost $1.5 billion, repairing pipes nationally could cost $275 billion, and the American Water Works Association estimates it will cost $1 trillion over the next 25 years just to maintain U.S. drinking water systems. It could cost close to $1 billion just to demolish abandoned structures in Detroit. New York’s Public Housing Authority says it faces a $16.5 billion unfunded capital shortfall for existing public housing stock. Facility needs for schools in the 50 largest U.S. cities is an estimated $85 billion. And so on.

A national urban policy never got discussed in the campaign, despite the party conventions being held in two struggling post-industrial cities, Cleveland and Philadelphia. An analysis of fiscal conditions in those two places confirmed what has become the new normal: cities working hard to fend off insolvency year after year, with little assistance, and sometimes hindrance, from the federal government.

The election of Trump certainly adds a new twist on the tortured history of the federal-city relationship. Ever since the Daily News headline “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” the thinking among policymakers and elected officials has been that cities are on their own. That is certainly true in terms of federal funding; cities rely on state funding and “own source” revenue such as via the property tax, to do things as fundamental as keeping the lights on. In The Metropolitan Revolution, Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley argued that mayors and civic leaders must tackle economic challenges that “Washington won’t, or can’t, solve.”

President Obama was thought to be the first urban president in a long time, and promised an office dedicated to urban affairs, which never quite became prominent. The president’s FY 2017 Budget provides the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with $48.9 billion in gross discretionary funding and $11.3 billion in new mandatory spending over 10 years, primarily for housing. There was also technical assistance and targeted funding emerging from the HUD-EPA-DOT partnership—which includes initiatives such as Sustainable Communities and TIGER grants. Earlier this year, HUD also launched the Prosperity Playbook, looping in nonprofits to develop a community of practice on economic mobility.

A Trump presidency may very well wipe the slate clean, foregoing established institutions and funding mechanisms. Although he has not specifically proposed eliminating HUD, a notion he raised for the EPA and Education Department, he spoke of scaling back HUD’s influence on local communities, including the possibility of rescinding the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, and downsizing the federal government in general. A HUD secretary is notably absent from Politico’s rundown of possible cabinet picks. At a minimum one can imagine an outside-the-box leader in the mold of Jack Kemp, HUD secretary from 1989 to 1993.

One last item that doesn’t bode well for cities is climate change—not only the role of alternative energy innovation in urban economies, but plans that cities around the country are making to prepare for the inevitable impacts of global warming: the burgeoning field of resilience and adaptation. Girding for sea-level rise is yet another task that is going to cost a lot of money, and require innovation in climate infrastructure finance.

Trump has expressed doubts about climate change, and vowed to pull out of the Paris COP 21 agreement. The question now is whether a President Trump might one day acknowledge that these planetary changes are underway, and help cities prepare accordingly.

The morning after, that’s just another world-turned-upside-down question that may or may not be answered in the weeks and months ahead. The nation’s cities will watch and wait.

Comments (28) - Post a Comment
asdfsafd
asdfassa at 6:36am EDT - July 2, 2018
The creative thinking and observing about presidency great answers and questions, it is including functional ukessay things. The implementation for better infrastructure and proceeded potentially effective.
bathak at 6:43am EDT - September 10, 2018
PhDify has been in operation since 2004. We have a proven reputation of punctuality, quality, and reliability. No other dissertation service offers the kind of guarantees we do: on-time delivery, unlimited revisions, and a 100% money-back guarantee. https://phdify.com/
Penelope Prust at 5:03am EDT - May 22, 2019
Nothing can be guessed till date but as being a dissertation writing service expert, my analysis says that Trump now want to be a strongest president of the world as well as USA after getting out from the issue of Afghanistan.
Christopher Jozeph at 11:01pm EDT - August 2, 2019
Nice knowledge gaining article. This post is really the best on this valuable topic.travel blogger
travel blogger at 2:44am EDT - September 3, 2019
Interesting and amazing how your post is! It Is Useful and helpful for me That I like it very much, and I am looking forward to Hearing from your next..
natural cures at 3:13am EDT - September 3, 2019
Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your posts.
Botox Injection Queens NY at 3:40am EDT - September 3, 2019
I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorites blog site list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my site as well and let me know what you think.
Brooklyn dance floor rental at 5:09am EDT - September 3, 2019
it was a wonderful chance to visit this kind of site and I am happy to know. thank you so much for giving us a chance to have this opportunity..
Will Probate Attorney at 5:39am EDT - September 3, 2019
No doubt this is an excellent post I got a lot of knowledge after reading good luck. Theme of blog is excellent there is almost everything to read, Brilliant post.
Community Shared Solar NYC at 6:09am EDT - September 3, 2019
I'm glad to see the great detail here!.
Best Radiologist in NYC at 6:14am EDT - September 3, 2019
I really impressed after read this because of some quality work and informative thoughts . I just wanna say thanks for the writer and wish you all the best for coming!.
Car Tire Repair Shop at 6:42am EDT - September 3, 2019
You completed a few fine points there. I did a search on the subject and found nearly all persons will go along with with your blog.
best home alarm systems at 7:00am EDT - September 3, 2019
If more people that write articles really concerned themselves with writing great content like you, more readers would be interested in their writings. Thank you for caring about your content.
genealogist near me at 7:27am EDT - September 3, 2019
Thank you very much for writing such an interesting article on this topic. This has really made me think and I hope to read more.
Gym al Barsha at 7:37am EDT - September 3, 2019
Your content is nothing short of brilliant in many ways. I think this is engaging and eye-opening material. Thank you so much for caring about your content and your readers.
top wms softw at 7:39am EDT - September 3, 2019
This article is an appealing wealth of informative data that is interesting and well-written. I commend your hard work on this and thank you for this information. You
phyllis benavidez at 7:42am EDT - September 3, 2019
Certainly with your thoughts here and that i love your blog! I
facebook at 7:18am EST - November 6, 2019
Certainly with your thoughts here and that i love your blog! I
facebook at 7:18am EST - November 6, 2019
Certainly with your thoughts here and that i love your blog! I
facebook at 7:19am EST - November 6, 2019
Certainly with your thoughts here and that i love your blog! I
facebook at 7:19am EST - November 6, 2019
Certainly with your thoughts here and that i love your blog! I
facebook at 7:19am EST - November 6, 2019
Certainly with your thoughts here and that i love your blog! I
facebook at 7:19am EST - November 6, 2019
Certainly with your thoughts here and that i love your blog! I
facebook at 7:19am EST - November 6, 2019
Certainly with your thoughts here and that i love your blog! I
facebook at 7:19am EST - November 6, 2019
Certainly with your thoughts here and that i love your blog! I
facebook at 7:19am EST - November 6, 2019
This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.
안전공원 at 1:50am EST - February 1, 2020
May Allah accept your sacrifice and may He fulfill all of your aspirations and yearnings. May your life be blessed, may you find joy and contentment at today and at all times. Eid Mubarak!


Take a pause from living in constant worry, as this is Eid, and itís time to celebrate! You are welcome to be a part of this with us. Life is so infinitely delightful. Happy Eid Day!

Read eid mubarak quotes 2020

Begin living at the moment and end distressing about tomorrow. Life is too short to waste in worrying. Simply relish each and every second of each and every day. Thinking about you on this Eid Day.


Eid Mubarak! Grab hold of the instant and be blissful. Because not much is required to create a happy life, itís all inside of yourself and your manner of thinking. Wishing you the all the best, right now and forever.

Read Happy Eid Mubarak 2020

May this Eid brings you delights unrestrained, may all your desires get fulfilled on this holy day and may you and your family be blessed by the grace of Allah. Eid Mubarak!


Let this exceptional time of Eid decorate your life with the colors of heaven. I wish a magnificent Eid day to you and your family.

May this Eid be the commencement of another prosperous year in your life. Eid Mubarak to you and your beautiful family!

Donít care about your diet, care less about fat, eat more meat and gain some weight. Joyful Eid Al Adha Mubarak!

Read images of eid mubarak

Delight in like a kid and be grateful to Allah for He has given all the Muslims such a lovely day. Eid Mubarak to you!

May this lovely time of eid offers you all the reasons to make your life even more perfect than it already is. Wishing you a joyful Eid day! Eid Mubarak!

Let this Eid be the time of distributing the love, and adoring the individuals who need to be loved and cared for. Eid Mubarak to all!
Okay@gami.com at 10:13am EDT - May 9, 2020


Post A Comment


Name: (*Required)
Email: (*Required)
- Not Displayed With Comment
Website:
Comment:
 

« Back to The Cat Lady's Apprentice

Ohio Conference of Community Development Public Service Scholarship

Learn More

The scholarship program was established by OCCD to honor two men who dedicated their careers to Public Service. 

Like to make a donation?
Click Here

 

Upcoming Events