Trump unveils infrastructure plan

President Trump finally unveiled his long-awaited infrastructure plan on Monday.The ...

Posted: Feb 12, 2018 8:44 PM
Updated: Feb 12, 2018 8:44 PM

President Trump finally unveiled his long-awaited infrastructure plan on Monday.

The 53-page document lays out his vision: To turn $200 billion in federal money into $1.5 trillion for fixing America's infrastructure by leveraging local and state tax dollars and private investment.

"For too long, lawmakers have invested in infrastructure inefficiently, ignored critical needs, and allowed it to deteriorate. As a result, the United States has fallen further and further behind other countries," Trump's message read. "It is time to give Americans the working, modern infrastructure they deserve."

Here's what we know about Trump's infrastructure plan.

How big is it?

The White House says its plan will create $1.5 trillion for repairing and upgrading America's infrastructure.

Only $200 billion of that, however, would come from direct federal spending. The rest is supposed to come from state and local governments, which are expected to match any federal allocation by at least a four-to-one ratio. States have gradually assumed more of the responsibility for funding infrastructure in recent years, and the White House says it wants to accelerate that trend.

"What we really want to do is provide opportunities for state and local governments to receive federal funding when they're doing what's politically hard, and increasing investment in infrastructure," DJ Gribbin, Trump's special assistant for infrastructure, said to the United States Conference of Mayors last month.

However, the administration said that existing funding sources - such as sales taxes that have already been levied to pay for transit projects - may count towards a local jurisdiction's contribution.

"There will be a lookback provision so that states and local governments who have already recently raised revenues aren't penalized for being forward thinking and implementing the types of policies that we're encouraging through this program," a senior administration said.

In advance of the plan's release, House Democrats announced their own proposal, which calls for five times the amount of federal funding to be made available.

Related: Trump's $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan rests on some strong assumptions

How would the money be split up?

Half of the new federal money, $100 billion, would be parceled out as incentives to local government entities.

An additional $20 billion would go toward "projects of national significance" that can "lift the American spirit," such as New York's Gateway tunnel under the Hudson River.

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. States can then spend that money on transportation, broadband, water, waste and power projects.

The rest of the money would support other infrastructure-related undertakings, including existing loan programs like the one operated by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, which White House officials said could leverage up to $40 in local and private money for every $1 in federal investment.

Related: America's biggest infrastructure nightmare

What else will the plan do?

The Trump administration says it wants to shorten the time and expense of getting federal permits by consolidating the reviews conducted by different agencies into "one federal decision," with one agency taking the lead on evaluating a project.

"Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process - getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one," Trump said in his State of the Union.

Currently, the process can take five to 10 years. Former President Obama also tried to address the problem through an executive order that instructed agencies to use better technology and work concurrently on their reviews in order to cut down on approval times.

In its background briefing, the White House said the permitting overhaul would require both actions by Congress and regulatory changes that could be accomplished under executive authority.

The proposal echoes one made in 2015 by a nonprofit group called Common Good, which recommended limiting litigation around infrastructure permitting - one of the main reasons approvals get delayed - and putting one person in charge of environmental review. 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 White House also said its plan would call for changes aimed at widening the pipeline of skilled construction workers, such as allowing Pell Grants to be used for short-term credentials from places like community colleges and targeting federal work-study funding toward on-the-job training.

Related: States see Trump's infrastructure project slipping away

How will the plan be paid for?

At the Conference of Mayors in January, Gribbin explained that the Trump administration would not be proposing a specific funding mechanism for the infrastructure plan, saying that will be a conversation with Congress. But that discussion just got a lot harder following the passage of a tax plan that is expected to expand the deficit by over a trillion dollars over ten years.

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. Gribbin said the White House is open to that idea, but hasn't ruled anything out.

Over the past year, Democrats have accused Trump of seeking to create the $200 billion infrastructure fund by proposing cuts to other infrastructure-related programs. Gribbin committed to leaving major pots of money intact, such as the Highway Trust Fund, but said that some existing spending may be "repurposed."

In its background briefing, the White House said that its budget would include cuts to many programs, none of which could be tied directly to the $200 billion increase for its infrastructure program.

"I can't tell you there's going to be no cut in any infrastructure programs in the federal government," Gribbin said to the Conference of Mayors.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154411

Reported Deaths: 3836
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10332104
Hinds10190199
Harrison7244111
Jackson6521124
Rankin5805103
Lee523695
Madison4964107
Forrest388286
Jones367788
Lauderdale3575147
Lafayette334952
Washington3241108
Lamar296650
Oktibbeha251362
Lowndes243864
Bolivar242984
Panola229653
Neshoba2241118
Marshall221250
Leflore207791
Monroe203978
Pontotoc202929
Lincoln194865
Sunflower192555
Warren178757
Tate177051
Union171026
Copiah167040
Pike164758
Yazoo158840
Scott157930
Itawamba156135
Alcorn154828
Pearl River154168
Coahoma151943
Simpson151953
Prentiss149531
Adams144451
Grenada142845
Leake139444
Holmes132361
Tippah128030
Covington127939
George126425
Winston124526
Hancock123640
Wayne120623
Marion118646
Attala117534
Tishomingo110842
Chickasaw109032
Newton108029
Tallahatchie97727
Clay93427
Clarke93053
Jasper84822
Stone80015
Calhoun78113
Walthall77229
Montgomery75825
Carroll74015
Lawrence73414
Smith72816
Noxubee72517
Yalobusha72328
Perry68126
Tunica62319
Greene61222
Claiborne58916
Jefferson Davis58817
Amite55814
Humphreys54719
Benton49918
Quitman4977
Webster46414
Kemper44718
Wilkinson40422
Jefferson36411
Franklin3535
Choctaw3507
Sharkey32317
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 27°
Columbus
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 23°
Oxford
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 23°
Starkville
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 23°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather