Tags: Donald Trump | Immigration | infrastructure | funding | sanctuary cities | threatened

Sanctuary Cities Order Puts Infrastructure Projects in Question

Image: Sanctuary Cities Order Puts Infrastructure Projects in Question

An activist holds a sign while attending the Miami-Dade commission meeting where commissioners voted decidedly to back Mayor Carlos Gimenez , dropping Miami-Dade's sanctuary protections on Friday Feb. 17, 2017. (C.M. Guerrero/El Nuevo Herald via AP)

By    |   Saturday, 18 Feb 2017 01:45 PM

Major infrastructure projects in several of America's largest cities could be delayed or even canceled should President Donald Trump follow through with his executive order to pull federal funding to sanctuary cities, even though he is also pushing a $1 trillion proposal to rebuild the nation's roads, bridges, airports, and railroad.

Large projects are planned in cities like Los Angeles, which could lose millions of dollars planned for port improvements, or in New York, where a tunnel to go under the Hudson River may be in jeopardy, reports Politico,  while the two cities, along with Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston have vowed to keep their sanctuary statuses.

Trump's order, issued last month, blocks federal funding for entities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities concerning undocumented immigrants, but transportation experts fear the block could hurt surrounding regions.

“Wouldn’t punishing a city with a loss of transit funding have deleterious effects on an entire region?” Steve Davis, communications director for the advocacy group Transportation for America, asked Politico. “D.C. for example — if the District lost transportation funding, wouldn’t Prince William or other outlying counties pay part of the price too in congestion, lost productivity and economic turmoil?”

But some sanctuary city mayors, like Boston's Marty Walsh and New York City's Bill de Blasio, have remained defiant, and the administration hasn't said which cities will lose funding.

“Cities don’t get federal highway money directly," Robert Puentes, CEO for the Eno Center for Transportation in Washington, commented. "Some cities get money for transit but what about the money that flows to transit authorities or airport authorities? Does it mean the Army [Corps of Engineers] wouldn’t dredge canals in southeast Louisiana because New Orleans is a sanctuary city?"

Federal highway spending is expected to reach $43 billion in this fiscal year, and most of the urban areas that have declared themselves sanctuary cities are highly Democratic. Further, many are either seeking or have already received hundreds of millions of dollar for their projects.

Direct grants, such as to Los Angeles for its port project, are different from formula funding, which does not go directly to cities, complicating Trump's call to block funding from sanctuary cities.

“Federal agencies are going to unapologetically enforce the law, no ifs or buts,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at a recent press conference. “We’re going to strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants. The American people are no longer going to have to be forced to subsidize this disregard for our laws.”

The threat seems to be working in some places like Fresno, California, where Mayor Lee Brand told The Fresno Bee in January that he will not jeopardize access to millions of dollars in federal funds, and that he will "follow the law and avoid these national culture-war questions."

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Major infrastructure projects in several of America's largest cities could be delayed or even canceled should President Donald Trump follow through with his executive order to pull federal funding to sanctuary cities, even though he is also pushing a $1 trillion proposal to...
infrastructure, funding, sanctuary cities, threatened
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2017-45-18
Saturday, 18 Feb 2017 01:45 PM
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