Trump To Unveil Long-Awaited $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

Adjust Comment Print

"Together, we can reclaim our building heritage", he said.

Administration officials previewing the plan said it would feature two key components: an injection of funding for new investments and help speed up repairs of crumbling roads and airports, as well as a streamlined permitting process that would truncate the wait time to get projects underway. The administration official said to expect the president to travel in the coming weeks and months around the country to promote the infrastructure plan - along with Cabinet officials similar to how the White House sold the tax plan.

"We need a real commitment from the federal government to improve our nation's aging infrastructure, not a smoke-and-mirrors magic act that ultimately leads to folks paying more for less in the form of toll hikes and fare increases", said Menendez, D-N.J. Democrats have criticized the $200 billion in federal spending in the past as insufficient compared to the needs facing the nation's roads, bridges and waterways.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on Sunday that the administration's budget plan will include $3 billion for the wall along the southern border that Mr Trump has made a priority, but there will be a contingency for $25 billion in spending on the wall over two years if Congress passes legislation to deal with young immigrants known as Dreamers.

The White House is also planning to release its version of the federal budget Monday. But it relies heavily on state and local governments to produce much of the funding.

A senior administration official added that DJ Gribbin, Gary Cohn, the team at the NEC, and White House Office of Legislative Affairs have all worked on the infrastructure issue.

The proposal calls for changes to the federal permitting process, and spending proposals will be paid for by cuts elsewhere in the budget.

The federal government has to approve 100 percent of infrastructure projects, however, it only funds 14 percent, one official said, and the amount of hoops localities and companies have to jump through is both costly and time-consuming.

An additional $20 billion would go toward "projects of national significance" that can "lift the American spirit", such as New York's Gateway tunnel under the Hudson River.

Another $50 billion is reserved for rural block grant most of which will be given to states.

President Trump's infrastructure plan calls for $200 billion in new spending, a speedy permitting process and a rural investment fund, but won't give any special preference to the Gateway tunnel project - a top priority for NY and New Jersey.

- Shortened permitting process to two years.

The official also said the White House wanted to make it easier for people without college degrees to work on infrastructure projects. Those changes were not adopted by Congress or supported by the Obama administration. The White House did specify that they would reduce spending on transit funding, which includes federal funding for Amtrak.

While megaprojects could get some money under the Trump plan, they won't get special consideration, the White House adviser said.

Trump would again spare Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare as he promised during the 2016 campaign.

But the official was short on details of how the final $1.5 trillion was actually calculated.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has estimated that the spending plan passed by Congress last week will alone increase the deficit by $420 billion over a decade. Gribbin said the White House is open to that idea, but hasn't ruled anything out.

The rest of the money would support other infrastructure related undertaking including existing loan programs. A growing number of Republican congressional leaders have called for spending and regulatory reforms to welfare programs and Medicare and Medicaid, critics say those cuts could be used to fund their tax and infrastructure programs.

Comments