Trump cites an ice rink as proof he can rebuild the country’s infrastructure

Aaron Rupar Editor, Think Progress

During a White House event on Monday, President Trump bragged about the role he played in the construction of an ice rink in Central Park, and claimed that project is “really no different with a bridge or tunnel or any of the things” he intends to fix as part of his infrastructure plan for the entire country.

“When I did the Wollman Rink, it was seven years, they couldn’t get it built, it would’ve been forever, they couldn’t get it built, and I did it in a few months at a much smaller price,” Trump said. “It took many years and they were unable to open it, and I said, you know, I’d like to be able to have my daughter Ivanka, who is with us, I’d like to be able to have her have ice skating sometime before she doesn’t want to ice skate, and I got involved, and we did it in a few months, and we did it for a tiny fraction, a tiny fraction of the cost, and it’s really no different with a roadway or tunnel or any of the things that we’ll be fixing.”

Trump is overlooking one major difference, however, among the many potential differences between one ice rink and thousands of large-scale infrastructure projects: Chiefly, people die when bridges (or tunnels) aren’t built properly, while the stakes are much lower with ice rinks. Another difference is that unlike the Central Park rink, Trump isn’t planning on personally managing various infrastructure projects to make sure they’re built as cheaply as possible.

But a number of GOP elected officials are apparently on board with cheap construction, ignoring the safety concerns involved in building major infrastructure projects with less regulatory oversight, and instead touting the cost savings. For instance, during a Fox & Friends interview on Monday, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) said “there is no reason why it should take 10 years to get a permit to built some of these projects — it jacks up the cost of road projects. By shortening the permit process you actually save a lot of money, billions of dollars on some of these big projects.”

During his State of the Union speech, Trump cited construction of the Empire State Building as a example of the sort of process he’d like to return to.

“America is a nation of builders,” Trump said. “We built the Empire State Building in just one year. Isn’t it a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a minor permit approved for the building of a simple road?”

Trump did not mention at least five workers died during the Empire State Building’s construction.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work