This week's national links are going live at a unique time in history, to say the least. Here's a rundown of what might be on tap in the world of transportation, land use, and other related areas now that Donald Trump is the president.
Federal transit funding could be out: The Heritage Foundation recommends that the feds not fund transit at all, and President Trump is likely to follow that advice. Heritage says "smart growth" really means "anti-driver," and that local governments need to be the ones funding transit. Pulling federal transit funds would emperil service that millions of workers depend on. (Streetsblog)
Gutting the tax credits that fund affordable housing: Donald Trump's proposed corporate tax reforms are scaring banks away from supporting Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Those credits are a major funding source for affordable housing developers, sometimes comprising up to 70% of the costs of the development. The worry is that with a reformed tax system, this source of revenue would not be available. (National Mortgage News)
An infrastructure proposal that won't work: Trump administration officials have put forth a plan that would create tax credits for infrastructure spending, and economists nationwide are saying it's not realistic. The idea is that creating $138 billion in tax credits would mean increased employment and economic activity to offset lost revenues, but the criticism is that this would just be a giveaway to existing projects, leaving deserving projects without funding. (Washington Post)
Bye bye, mortgages: Two of Trump's cabinet picks have been saying that the government should stop backing 30-year mortgage loans. Changing policy accordingly could spell the end of the mortgage as we know it and privatize the federal programs known colloquially as "Fannie" and "Freddie". (Bloomberg)
How quickly will environmental regulations disappear?: Many builders are hoping that the Trump administration will get rid of environmental rules that they say make projects more expensive and more time consuming. While the hope is that regulations will disappear quickly, hearings and lawsuits are likely to keep any process from proceeding at lightning pace. (Bloomberg)
New transportation secretary not getting much scrutiny: In what was likely to be one of the easiest confirmation hearings of this administration, Elaine Chao made very few bold statements during her time in front of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and is expected to be the next Secretary of Transportation. For transit advocates, her lack of verbal support for existing projects is causing consternation, but Chao is still likely to stay under the radar. (The Hill)
Quote of the week
"We’d be willing to talk about an infrastructure bill. As long as it’s a real infrastructure bill that builds the infrastructure of America, creates good-paying jobs, increases the paycheck of American workers and is not a tax break at the high-end, disguised as an infrastructure bill." - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Republican infrastructure proposals.