Life is like a box of chocolates, and rebuilding American infrastructure is akin to erecting an ice skating rink. So claimed President Trump on Monday, speaking to reporters on the heels of his administration's unveiling of its long-delayed and much-hyped infrastructure plan.
The 55-page plan calls for a $1.5 trillion investment to improve freeways, bridges, and water resources across the U.S. — just $200 billion of which would come from the federal government. The rest would ostensibly be provided by private or local matches.
Speaking to reporters about the wonders of collaboration, Trump compared the task of improving the country's infrastructure to the time he built an ice skating rink in Central Park. "We're gonna have a lot of great people working. We're gonna also have great companies investing and building, and they'll build for you," Trump said, "because sometimes the states aren't able to [build] like [the federal government] can … or like I used to do it when I did the Wollman Rink."
In the 1980s, Trump helped renovate the Wollman Rink, a process that had been stalled for years before he stepped in. "They couldn't get it built, and I did it in a few months at a much smaller price," he said. Trump said he'd been reminded of the rink "the other day" by someone who "had never forgotten it" and insisted that the rink's expedited construction "remains a big deal." He concluded: "It's really no different with a roadway ... it's no different with a bridge or tunnel or any of the things we'll be fixing."
To the president's credit, he did indeed finish the construction on the Wollman Rink under budget and quicker than expected. Trump came in "about $750,000" under the $3 million budget allotted for the project, The New York Times reported at the time, for a rough total investment of $2,250,000 — or, in other words, significantly less than 1 percent of the budget for Trump's infrastructure plan.