Donald Trump to unveil smarter, faster US$1.5 trillion infrastructure plan

Win McNamee

Win McNamee

How big would it be?

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The White House proposal will offer $100 billion in incentives to state and local governments, but will propose a smaller percentage of matching finds than the federal government has typically offered.

"This is a bait and switch, it's going to raise costs for state and local governments and ultimately the taxpayers", said Democratic Congresswoman Janice Schakowsky of IL on a call organized by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The White House official said relying more heavily on state and local governments to fund their own infrastructure improvements would help make that funding more "sustainable".

The other problem facing infrastructure development that the White House hopes to fix with its plan is "the broken permit system", that is part of the reason the US has fallen behind many other developed countries in infrastructure. Trump said in September that he would end by March 5 former Democratic President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects the Dreamers from deportation.

How would the money be split up? But critics are already calling Trump's approach "fake" and a "scam" for its lack of new revenue and because of its reliance on funding from local governments and private investors.

But the way that most of the new money under the Trump plan would be spent would be a sharp departure from how many transportation projects, in particular, are now funded.

The $200 billion in infrastructure spending will be paid for by reductions in spending in other federal programs, including other transit funding and grants through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, that will be outlined Monday with the release of Trump's federal budget.

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Another $50 billion is earmarked for rural block grants, most of which will be given to states according to a formula based on the miles of rural roads and the rural population they have.

What else might the plan do?

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The plan has four overarching objectives: to stimulate US$1.5 trillion (S$2 trillion) in new investment in infrastructure; to shorten the permit process to two years; to invest in rural infrastructure; and to train Americans to take on new jobs. But the 10-year yield closed at 2.86 percent on Friday, and the Federal Reserve is expected to hike rates three times this year.

Wallace then inquired about whether the budget that the White House is set to release would reflect the budget deal just struck in Congress.

The long-awaited infrastructure plan is supposed to generate $1.5 trillion of total investment in roads, bridges, waterways, electrical grids and other projects, but despite widespread support for improving America's public works, some in Congress remain skeptical. Proposals to streamline the permitting process as a way to reduce the cost of projects have already generated opposition from environmental groups. Other experts, including the Congressional Research Service, have since cast doubt on the report's claim that trillions of dollars are wasted during the permitting process, pointing out that state regulations, rather than federal ones, are often the cause of delays.

The Gateway project would cost about $30 billion to replace the Portal Bridge in New Jersey, build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and rebuild the existing deteriorating North River Tunnel that carries Amtrak trains between New Jersey and Penn Station.

Rep. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioWATCH: Dem rep: Trump's SOTU seemed "reasonable, ' but wait until "his Adderall wears off" Trump calls for infrastructure plan of 'at least".5T Trump gets chance to sell nation on rebuilding plan MORE (D-Ore.), the ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on Friday slammed the administration ahead of the proposal's unveiling. Gribbin said the White House is open to that idea, but hasn't ruled anything out.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has proposed hiking the federal gas tax, which hasn't gone up since 1993, to raise $394 billion over 10 years. "And that is what the budget will show tomorrow". "I'm anxious about the infrastructure bill because instead of the federal government doing what it's done since 1820 - putting money to build highways, roads - they're going to say 'let the private sector do it.' That will result in tolls, Trump Tolls I would call them, across the country, in highways that we now are able not to have tolls on".

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