Trump Infrastructure Plan to be Revealed

The long-awaited Trump administration infrastructure plan will be revealed today and despite the $1.5 trillion benefits being touted by the president it is expected to provide a modest $200 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years.

The plan is already facing opposition in Congress from conservative Republicans who think the price tag is too high and Democrats who think it is not enough.

Aside from being designed to bolster infrastructure spending, the plan also is designed to change the nature of the funding relationship between state and local governments, and the federal government.

For decades, infrastructure projects have received large chunks of funding from federal money.

But the Trump infrastructure proposal would limit the federal share to 20 percent of a project’s cost.

Critics contend the plan will also encourage a wave of toll roads and bridges to pay for some road projects.

Also expected to be in the proposal is a relaxation of environmental rules surrounding infrastructure plans. The administration wants to reduce the time needed for an environmental review to no more than two years.

Trump has acknowledged that the $200 billion in federal aid is not a large amount and has also spoke of paying for the plan by making unspecified budget cuts elsewhere.

A White House official told reporters during a briefing on Saturday about the proposal that Trump’s infrastructure plan isn’t an all or nothing thing.

“This is the start of a negotiation — bicameral, bipartisan negotiation — to find the best solution for infrastructure in the U.S.,” the official said.

The official said Trump “is open to new sources of funding.” However, he downplayed an increase in the gasoline tax as has been proposed by some, including House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Schuster and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The funding from the infrastructure plan would not be limited to transportation projects.

It would fund such things as broadband in rural areas and aim to encourage apprenticeships and other forms of workforce training as well as pay for unspecified “transformative,” “next-century-type” projects that would “lift the American spirit,” a White House official said.

What is to be released today is a statement of principles that Congress will work into legislation.

That means the proposal will be overseen by 11 House and Senate committees, all of which are likely to have their own visions for what the infrastructure plan should and shouldn’t be.

The administration is planning to hold a briefing with state and local officials this morning and to engage in a campaign on behalf of the plan from Trump and members of his cabinet.

Cabinet members are expected to fan out across the country to talk about infrastructure needs.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has said the backlog of needed infrastructure projects amounts to $4.59 trillion in needed investments by 2025.

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