Trump’s infrastructure plan will include $200 billion in federal funding and attempt to cut down on regulatory reviews of proposals.
- The White House on Monday released President Donald Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure plan on Monday.
- The plan will include $200 billion in federal funding with an eye toward incentivizing another $1.3 trillion in local investment.
- Many analysts and lawmakers do not expect the large package to pass Congress.
The White House on Monday unveiled President Donald Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure plan that aims to rehabilitate the nation’s roads, bridges, tunnels, and more.
The plan will include $200 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years, and it aims to raise up to $1.5 trillion total by incentivizing investment from state and local governments as well as private firms.
Here’s a breakdown of how that would be spent:
- $100 billion would be used as direct grants to local governments to help trigger investment.
- $50 billion would go to projects in rural areas in the form of block grants.
- $20 billion to large projects that can “lift the American spirit.”
- $30 billion for miscellaneous existing infrastructure programs.
The funding proposal is a departure from typical spending on infrastructure, as the federal government usually covers a bulk of the cost. The Trump plan would see local governments taking on 80% or more of the funding burden.
Another major focus is to streamline the approval process for bigger projects, cutting down regulatory red tape. The White House’s stated goal is to streamline such projects to two years from the current five to 10. The plan would allow one agency to make the final decision on permitting — which the White House is calling a “one agency, one decision” approach.
Democrats have expressed skepticism at the idea, saying that shortening the approval time could be used to skirt environmental regulations.
The infrastructure plan’s release represents a culmination of almost a year of Trump suggesting an infrastructure package was imminent. Trump said that the plan was coming in two to three weeks on May 1 of last year.
While the plan is set to dominate the policy agenda in Washington this week, almost no one expects anything resembling the Trump plan to pass Congress in 2018. Isaac Boltansky, a policy analyst at research firm Compass Point, summed up the reasons he believes the plan is dead on arrival.
From Boltansky’s note to clients:
“Despite bipartisan conceptual support for infrastructure projects, we doubt that a sweeping infrastructure bill will become law in this Congress for 3 key reasons: (1) the deep policy divide over the funding mechanism; (2) unclear pay-fors as repatriation was included in tax reform and raising the gas tax remains unpopular among Republicans; and (3) the timeline is difficult given the already overburdened legislative calendar and the gravitational pull of the midterms.”
Democrats are already coming out against the plan, saying the private-public partnerships are a “scam” designed to enrich private contractors.
“This is not a real infrastructure plan — it’s simply another scam, an attempt by this administration to privatize critical government functions, and create windfalls for their buddies on Wall Street,” Rep. Peter DeFazio, the top Democrats on the House Transportation Committee said Sunday.
On the Republican side, the recent tax plan and budget deal have already raised concerns about blowing out the federal deficit. Another $200 billion in spending may not get much support.
Here’s the full plan:
Source: Pulse. Ng