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What will DC look like under Trump? One of our contributors takes his best guess.

Before last week's historic and unprecedented election, DC was preparing for a more autonomous and possible independent future. With Donald Trump as president, it may be in for just the opposite.

Photo by on Flickr.

With several significant moves in the past few years backed by—or at least supported by—President Obama and other prominent democrats, the District was able to recommend its own federal district court judges, legalize cannabis, defy the NRA, maintain greater control over budget issues, and even pass a statehood measure by ballot.

This growing independence will likely be curbed by the incoming administration and Republicans, who are more powerful than ever given that they retained control of the Senate and the House. The GOP, which has been outspoken on the District's growing autonomy, is likely to retake control of the District.

Greater Greater Washington contributor Stephen Hudson recently raised a few points on key issues ranging from infrastructure to immigration to criminal justice reforms that could be impacted under the new administration:

Trump has emphasized law and order. This sounds eerily like Nixon's 1968 platform, and he has evoked images of inner cities having out-of-control crime. Even more unsettling, Rudy Giuliani's possible involvement in the future administration is very concerning, since he really embodied the "zero tolerance on crime" attitude of the 90s and embraced the criminalization of homelessness. I see some negative consequences for DC, where we have defied the feds on marijuana and needle sharing and 10% of the population is ex-cons, and we have a higher violent crime rate.

The GOP loves meddling in District affairs, and it never seems to work out for our benefit.

Trump's demand for a $1 trillion infrastructure package could be positive for us. God knows we need the money, but again, the devil is in the details (of which there are few):

  • Trump talks a lot about public-private partnerships, which is fine, but it's unlikely that he can levy that much money in private funds.

  • Failing private funds, where will the money come from? Trump wants a budget-neutral infrastructure package (in theory), so that would involve raising more government revenue, or cutting some other program. The House GOP has regularly opposed increasing the gas tax, Passenger Facility Charge, etc., so I think he's going to have an uphill battle convincing them.

  • If the GOP ends up going Trump's way, we could actually get something favorable out of this deal. He has talked about trains and horrible airport infrastructure. On the other hand, if he surrounds himself with traditional party advisors, I'm less optimistic about federal spending in our region and infrastructure.

Trump is not exactly a budget-hawk. This could theoretically be good for government hiring over the medium term, but the hiring freeze and likely gutting of some agencies also gives us mixed information on his intentions.

The Trump/Ryan tax plan would not be good at all for our region's poorest residents.

If we do see decreased immigration, this could be catastrophic for our and other regions, and Trump's xenophobic rhetoric threatens our multiculturalism. Even though I would like to think our region is relatively tolerant, we are not immune to hate. I even expect some unforeseen consequences to the local economy, such as fewer tourists visiting the US, which was a problem during the Bush years.

In short, if DC had warm feelings towards Mr. Trump, he would have received more than 4% of the vote.

What do you think the future might hold for DC?


National Links: Hillary talks housing

Hillary Clinton is articulating her vision to help Americans with housing, what happens when people making decisions about transit don't know what it's like to depend on it, and a look at where row houses fit into the national landscape. Check out what's happening around the country in transportation, land use, and other related areas!

Photo by Veni on Flickr.

Hillary's housing hopes: Hillary Clinton wants living near quality jobs, schools, and transportation to be easier, and she's making affordable housing part of her agenda. Her proposal would boost funding for both programs that help people buy homes as well as public housing. (Virginia-Pilot)

Get the board on the bus: Given how much they influence how people get around, perhaps transit board members should ride the busor at least know details about the system they work on. Some recent applicants for the DART Board of Directors in Dallas are clueless when it comes to transit-oriented development and taxpaying riders. (Dallas Observer)

Reliant on row houses The row house is the workhorse of dense older cities around the country, but it's becoming less popular. It's possible that row houses could be the "missing middle" that can help address the country's housing needs. (Urban Omnibus)

Questioning King Car: Cars are a large part of American culture, like it or not. But they also cost a lot of money, time, and lives. Since September 11th, 2001, over 400,000 people have died in automobile collisions. Is that a worthwhile price to pay for convenience? (The Atlantic)

Bridges of Amsterdam city: Amsterdam has far more canals and bridges than the average city, but only one bridge runs across the large river that separates the more industrial side of the city from where most people live. There is a tunnel and a number of ferries, neither of which is idea for walking or biking. But as more development happens and free ferries are overwhelmed, a bridge may be the next step. (City Metric)

Struggling city streams: In the midwest, streams in urban places are rare. Detroit, for example, has lost 86% of its surface streams. That worries ecologists because streams regulate water flow and keep wildlife healthy. (Great Lakes Echo)

Are we building boredom?: Buildings designed like boxes are bad for us. Research shows that human excitement wanes on streets with boring facades, causing stress that affects our health and psychological wellbeing. (New York Magazine)

Quote of the Week

"I think it's important to remember that these are serious crimes with emotional consequences. It's interesting nonetheless to watch how burglars use architecture, but that isn't enough reason to treat them like folk heroes." - Architecture writer Geoff Manaugh discussing his new book, A Burglar's Guide to the City in Paste Magazine.

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