Government Issues

President releases $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan

Posted on February 12, 2018

Kevin McCoy
Kevin McCoy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, the Trump Administration released the long-awaited proposal to upgrade roads, airports, and other public works, with the release of a 53-page document detailing how the Administration plans to stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in new investment, shorten project permitting time to two years, invest in rural projects, and improve worker training, Bloomberg reports.

The newest elements of the proposal include expanding the use of tax-exempt debt, letting states add tolls on interstates, and making it easier to lease airports and other public assets. The infrastructure plan also proposes streamlining environmental reviews by putting a single agency in charge of the work, imposing a 21-month deadline for completing those assessments and requiring final decisions on permitting three months after that.

The plan allocates $100 billion for a grant competition with preference given to applicants that raise revenue such as taxes, fees or tolls, and would limit federal help to 20% of new money generated. It includes $20 billion to boost federal lending programs and private-activity bonds used to attract private investment. There would also be $50 billion in block grants to governors to choose rural projects, $20 billion for “transformational” projects, and $10 billion for a capital financing fund for federal infrastructure.

The White House said it isn’t including specific projects, such as the $30 billion Gateway proposal that includes a new rail tunnel connecting New York City and New Jersey, although such initiatives could be eligible for funding under the plan. For the full story, click here.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials today issued the following statement in response to the public release of the long-anticipated White House infrastructure proposal.

“State DOT leaders appreciate the president’s ongoing interest in, and support for, increased federal investment in infrastructure,” said Bud Wright, executive director for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. “We hope the release of the Trump infrastructure plan can be a starting point for a robust conversation on how best to make the critical investments in surface transportation. AASHTO and its members stand ready to work with the Administration and Congress to address the long-term viability of the Highway Trust Fund and to speed the federal review and permitting process.”

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