Infrastructure Plan Has Ideas for Railroads, Transit

The Trump Administration infrastructure plan released on Monday devoted nine paragraphs in its 55 pages to the railroad industry.

The plan, which is more a concept than a blueprint, proposes that Congress authorize funds to the U.S. Department of Transportation related to the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program.

The infrastructure plan, titled Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America proposes funding passenger and short-line freight projects so supporters of those projects can borrow at rates comparable to better-funded or less risky ventures.

The administration also wants Congress to change the law to reduce the time that organizations or people can contest a project from two years to 150 days.

Related to that, the administration wants to reduce the amount of time needed for an environmental review process for projects that involve the purchase or exercise of options on proposed rights-of-way.

The proposed change would enable rail project promoters to buy land earlier in the process.

Another proposed change would affect transit projects. The administration has proposed that transit agencies and developers that use federal funds must have “value capture” financing

This would levy additional taxes and fees or grant land-use rights to transit agencies with the expectation that businesses and properties near transit projects would see a boost in value after transit comes in.

Finally, the administration wants fewer limits on public-private partnerships in transit projects.

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