President Trumps Infrastructure Plan Shaping Up
- Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
The Trump Administration is finalizing its long-awaited infrastructure plan, which pushes most of the financing of projects to private investment and state and local taxpayers.
President Trump, who spoke of improving US infrastructure during his Y 2016 campaign, may preview the plan in his 30 January State of the Union address.
People briefed on it said it would likely recommend dividing $200-B in federal funding over 10 years into 4 pools of funds.
The administration is structuring the plan in hopes of encouraging $1.35-T in state, local and private financing to build and repair the nation’s bridges, highways, waterworks and other infrastructure, one source said.
The US Chamber of Commerce, the largest business lobbying group in Washington, is backing a 25c increase in the federal gasoline tax to make that happen.
“It’s time to invest in a 21st Century infrastructure, a system of infrastructures to support and grow a 21st century economy,” said Tom Donohue, the Chamber’s president, in a speech Thursday as part of the organizations renewed public push for action.
“It’s time to make up for decades of underinvestment that today is evident in everything from bone-rattling potholes and endless traffic gridlock, to deadly train derailments and destructive water main breaks,” he said.
The numbers in the Trump plan are still in flux and could change before he unveils it.
Many Republicans want to use private-sector investment to finance infrastructure projects to avoid increasing the national debt. Democrats believe that government money is necessary to produce such a large package.
Under the Trump plan being shaped, the largest share of the federal money – $100-B – is expected to go toward cost-sharing projects with local governments, similar to grants.
The goal would be to reduce the ratio of federal funding, which often now is 80 percent, by awarding funds only to projects that are able to provide more local funding or leverage private investment, said a business lobbyist familiar with the discussion.
Some $50-B would be earmarked for rural projects, the lobbyist said. Those funds would help governors on projects like roads, broadband access and replacing aging lead pipes. Including a pool for rural infrastructure could also reduce concerns among some Republican senators who fear rural areas may be unable to attract private investments.
Expect $25-B to go toward existing federal infrastructure loan programs that seek to spur private investment, the lobbyist said.
The final $25-B would be designated for so-called transformative projects – an effort being dubbed “American Spirit” projects.
The proposal could take $200-B from existing spending plans, although the administration has not yet committed to whether it would come from existing programs or whether the money would be found elsewhere.