Sewer mains might not be sexy, but they need love too. Gerald Herbert/AP

Also today: When trains beat out planes, and “the resistance requires a coin.”

Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Sign up for the CityLab Daily newsletter here.

***

What We’re Following

Groundhog Day is long gone, but now that we see a plan, it looks like we’ve got many Infrastructure Weeks to come. CityLab’s Laura Bliss sorts out what’s new and what feels like déjà vu:

On Monday, the White House released its $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill, more than a year after Trump’s presidential campaign started talking about one. Make no mistake: This is not a spending plan, but a financing plan.

The gist is to dole out $100 billion in federal grants to local and state governments, which would need to pay for at least 80 percent of their own project costs. The vast majority of the funds— $1.3 trillion—would be generated by state and local governments, many of which are still fiscally strained from the Recession. All told, only $200 billion in federal spending is called for—and not really, since the money would come from cuts to other infrastructure programs.

This plan may be a non-starter in Congress. Read my story here.

Budget drop: We’re also digging into the weeds on the Trump administration’s latest budget proposal. See something interesting you’d like us to cover? Drop us a line at hello@citylab.com.

Culture corner: Today, Kriston Capps is on the scene at the Smithsonian’s portrait unveiling for Barack and Michelle Obama.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Can This European High-Speed Train Compete With Airlines?

As flying grows even less attractive, a new London-to-Amsterdam rail route could steal passengers from the skies.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Is Personalized, Next-Day Delivery the Future of Urban Farming?

A rooftop-farming venture in Montreal has found success with a model that’s part CSA, part Amazon Prime.

Sarah Treleaven

To Fund the Resistance, Berkeley Turns to Cryptocurrency

The city of Berkeley is planning on developing its own cryptocurrency, to fill affordable housing funding gaps left by the federal government.

Sarah Holder

An Uncertain Future for Solar

Trump slapped tariffs on imported solar panels at a time when African Americans were seeing unique job growth in the industry.

Brentin Mock

The Problem with 'Transit Gaps'

When it comes to mobility, what does “adequate” service mean?

Jarrett Walker

The State Laws That Might Prevent Another Charlottesville

A new legal analysis finds that all 50 states have language on the books that can be used to prevent violence by armed white supremacists and private militias.

Tanvi Misra


Chart of the Day

For a long-term perspective on today’s infrastructure plan, Lydia DePillis over at CNNMoney shares this chart via Twitter from a 2017 RAND study. In recent years, the federal government’s share of infrastructure spending has shrunk, leaving state and local governments to pick up the slack.


What We’re Reading

How Black Lives Matter breathed new life into unions (The Guardian)

Why transit nerds are so jealous of Seattle (Curbed)

In Chicago, black entrepreneurs seeking venture capital face discrimination (Belt Magazine)

The electric glide: how e-bikes are destined for something bigger (Slate)

Copenhagen’s healthy and happy city secrets (The Guardian)

A new housing-rights movement has the real-estate industry running scared (The Nation)


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