Spending on American infrastructure is one area where Democrats and Republicans can agree — at least in principle. President Trump has pledged to push for $1 trillion of new spending on roads, bridges and more, but critics question how Trump plans to find the money.
Pro-Trump Pastor Darrell Scott is working on a plan for rejuvenating Black America and crumbling urban communities. Scott’s plan was co-conceived by Michael Cohen, Trump’s besieged personal lawyer. At a luncheon in Washington hosted by National Republican Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, Scott told leading Republican diversity groups, “Great things are on the horizon. We are finalizing plans [with Trump] to bring $30 billion in investment along with 25,000 well-paying jobs to urban America.”
One of a few Black Trump loyalists, the Cleveland-area minister says minorities can benefit under Trump via “job creation through urban revitalization.”
“We will leverage public-private partnerships, and private investments to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years, of which inner cities will be a major beneficiary,” said Scott, an advocate of Trump’s “New Infrastructure Investment.
Civil engineers say that the nation’s roads, dams, airports and water and electrical systems need $4.6 trillion of work. Americans are driving on crumbling roads, bridges and tunnels to get to work and get their kids to school.
The American people deserve an infrastructure plan that will rebuild the country and make sure our infrastructure is second to none. It’s time for a bold, comprehensive plan to make a historic federal investment to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create more than 16 million American jobs.
The vehicle for Scott’s infrastructure plan is his Urban Revitalization Council (URC), whose mission is to explore the best practices for redevelopment and revitalization of city centers, older neighborhoods and districts, and other core urban areas. This includes a focus on urban planning, infrastructure development, architecture, street and civic space design, real estate development, historic preservation and adaptive reuse, economic development, social equity and community engagement to provide skills, knowledge, case studies to help actively demonstrate leadership in revitalization of communities.
“This is the president fulfilling his campaign promise to African Americans,” Scott said.
Many urban officials say the poor quality of U.S. infrastructure hampers economic growth and costs people thousands a year in extra travel time and car repairs from rutted streets. With that backdrop, Scott may be able to pierce the loyalty Blacks have to the Democrats’ agenda.
“Big things are in the mix” toward safer, stronger, more economically vibrant communities, Scott said. He claims to have a cadre of Blacks politically in tune with Trump to get good, reliable jobs for residents and to create an environment that spurs innovation and entrepreneurship.
Trump has maintained consistently low poll numbers among African Americans. His campaign pitch to Blacks — “What do you have to lose?” — fell on its face. But he nevertheless says he’ll be great for the Black populace, and insists that as a 2020 candidate, “I will get over 95 percent of the African-American vote.”
“Urban revitalization” is something Trump has largely outsourced to Scott to make part of his legislative agenda. Activist and Cleveland native Kareem Lanier is one of the plan’s main drivers. Lanier, Scott and Cohen are members of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. Their programs are closely related to Jim Brown’s Amer-I-Can.
Our interview with Scott and Lanier indicates their plans are more in their origination than operational stages. Whether these plans are ever fully realized remains to be seen.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.