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Trump predicts 'big week' for infrastructure

12 February 2018

The White House says the Gateway project may have two avenues for funding under the Trump plan.

The debate in Congress on the plan of Trump will be long and hard.

"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", DeFazio said. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation a grade of D+ for the condition of transit, highway, bridge, rail, water and other infrastructure, and says the country is in need of an investment of $2 trillion more than is now budgeted.

President Trump's infrastructure plan, which will expand the use of tax-exempt private activity bonds, will be released Monday.

Administration officials say the president's plan addresses the funding shortfall by committing $200 billion in federal funding over 10 years to stimulate state and local spending and private investment. Officials said the $200 billion in federal support would come from cuts to existing programs.

Trump will also release his budget for 2019 Monday, which is largely a wish list, but indicates priorities for the executive branch.

"Keep in mind I'm not Congressman Mick Mulvaney anymore", he said. "This is the start of a negotiation". These governments can then apply to federal agencies for some percentage of matching funds to complete the financings.

"It's wildly inaccurate", he said, adding that kind of match is now only available for federal-aid highways. The city of Los Angeles adopted a sales-tax referendum in November 2016 to generate $120 billion over 40 years for infrastructure, which administration officials said could serve as an example for others. Only $200 billion of the $1.5 trillion proposal would come from new federal funding.

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. This funding will be "front-loaded", or more readily available, the official said.

Mr Mulvaney acknowledged the new spending approved last week could result in annual deficits in future years of $1 trillion and higher, but he said the administration will propose ways to avoid that fate. Among the most affected rules will be those for environmental protection. The agencies would all sign a "record of decision". The lead agency would have 21 months to review the project and another three months to issue the necessary permits.

"We have a permitting process that takes so long that even when funds are adequate, it can take a decade to build critical infrastructure", a senior official noted.

"We are not touching any of the fundamental requirements of the core environmental acts [but rather] the process to be used to do the analysis", the White House official said. The administration wants to make it easier for tradespeople to transfer their licenses from one state to another.

Administration officials have spent weeks talking about the infrastructure plan and trying to get some ideas and consensus from lawmakers on Capitol Hill and industry groups.

Trump's proposal, which he alluded to in his State of the Union address, puts a premium on states and localities willing to pay a larger share of the cost for construction projects, according to a senior administration official speaking on condition of anonymity in advance of Monday's announcement.

It won't be easy. "People think we can do what we want to in Washington because Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House".

Trump has shown "his willingness to discuss this project" and hopes "to find a fiscally responsible path forward", a senior administration official said. The funds will be distributed to the states in the form of grants. He called for sticking with the tradition of federal funding for infrastructure.

Trump predicts 'big week' for infrastructure