Trump Said He was 'the Only One' to Fix Infrastructure—So Why is Domino's Pizza Stepping in?

President Donald Trump promised his supporters an infrastructure plan that would fix America's decaying roads, bridges and pipelines, but in the 508 days since the president took office little work has been done to put that plan into place. Now, Domino's, the biggest pizza chain in the world, is taking matters into its own hands.

The pizza delivery company announced this week that it would award a number of towns across the United States with money to fix the potholes that plague their roads and "can cause irreversible damage to your pizza during the drive home from Domino's." So far they have provided funding to four towns across the country.

The public relations stunt won't actually put a dent in America's infrastructure problems, but it does give the Trump administration an embarrassing nudge, said William Galston, the Ezra K. Zilkha chair in the Brookings Institution's Governance Studies Program.

"What it tells me is that, for American businesses and the U.S. economy, the decline of our infrastructure is an impediment to productivity and efficiency and they want to get the federal government back into the game," he told Newsweek. "It's part good PR but it's also a cry for help."

The American Society of Civil Engineers graded America's infrastructure a "D+" and found that there is currently an infrastructure spending gap of $1.5 trillion. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimated that an additional $80 billion would be needed to keep roads and bridges safe, and McKinsey estimated that the U.S. would need to spend $150 billion a year between 2017 and 2030 to handle all of the country's infrastructure upkeep. Drinking water and wastewater systems will need another $632 billion in upkeep over the next 10 years, according to the EPA.

But instead of focusing on infrastructure, Congress passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut last year, which will limit the government's ability to fund large-scale infrastructure projects.

"It's very simple," explained Galston. "During his presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump promised a large infrastructure program to rebuild america, but this was never a proposal favored by most Republicans in Congress. He ended up giving in to the Republican Congressional leaders."

On the campaign trail, Trump claimed that he was the only candidate who could save America's crumbling infrastructure. "The only one to fix the infrastructure of our country is me - roads, airports, bridges. I know how to build, pols only know how to talk!" he tweeted in 2015. But after a number of White House "infrastructure week" initiatives gone awry, the president has tabled any plans until at least next year.

Still, representatives from the towns that received Domino's funding are grateful.

"We don't have enough money in our budget each and every year to do what is necessary to maintain our streets," said Eric Norenberg, city manager of Milford, Delaware. "We have been working internally to try to identify funding strategies and ways to stretch our dollars and be creative in addressing the needs of infrastructure."

Milford, a city of 10,000, received $5,000 from the pizza chain and was able to fix 40 potholes along 10 roads in exchange for spray painting a Domino's logo over the patched up holes.

"Having worked for smaller communities, I've learned not to hold my breath waiting for the federal government provide answers to infrastructure problems," Norenberg told Newsweek. "Aid grants are going to be few and far between, and there are so many local governments the size of Milford that all have similar needs."

Norenberg admits that "$5,000 doesn't go very far," but says that it is a help. "We need to be thinking about how we're going to fund these repairs in the future because the longer you put them off, the more expensive it gets. Hopefully, we can use this as an educational opportunity to highlight the needs we know are there and can make some changes now."

Domino's did not respond to a request for comment.

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Domino's Pizza has been paving potholes in roads all over America. Domino's Pizza
Trump Said He was 'the Only One' to Fix Infrastructure—So Why is Domino's Pizza Stepping in? | U.S.
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