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.

Confirmed Cases: 67649

Reported Deaths: 1912
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5613118
DeSoto365831
Harrison252036
Madison242266
Rankin228334
Jackson227642
Jones189958
Forrest180656
Washington166341
Lee146241
Lauderdale141292
Neshoba128692
Lamar122014
Oktibbeha112239
Bolivar111334
Warren109333
Lowndes107737
Panola105913
Sunflower103925
Scott100320
Lafayette97316
Copiah95428
Pike93636
Leflore93363
Holmes89248
Grenada84721
Yazoo83112
Pontotoc8278
Lincoln81741
Monroe79655
Simpson79630
Leake78825
Wayne76721
Coahoma76013
Tate73429
Marshall6959
Marion67720
Union63616
Adams62325
Winston62016
Covington61213
George5815
Pearl River55039
Newton54211
Tallahatchie53110
Attala52225
Walthall50220
Chickasaw46219
Noxubee45711
Alcorn4285
Calhoun4189
Tishomingo4175
Prentiss41210
Claiborne40713
Smith40513
Clay39614
Hancock39014
Jasper3869
Tippah36613
Itawamba35910
Tunica3377
Clarke32726
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29311
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25012
Perry2367
Webster23412
Kemper23314
Amite2326
Jefferson Davis2316
Wilkinson21213
Stone1995
Sharkey1975
Jefferson1967
Benton1441
Choctaw1344
Franklin1272
Issaquena261
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99390

Reported Deaths: 1733
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13109243
Mobile9947207
Montgomery6835148
Madison537834
Tuscaloosa421373
Unassigned359961
Baldwin354425
Shelby328335
Marshall316736
Lee267845
Morgan239318
Etowah212131
DeKalb181913
Calhoun178414
Elmore172338
Walker152664
Houston139812
Russell13682
St. Clair133817
Limestone133313
Dallas132323
Franklin127420
Cullman122512
Colbert118113
Autauga116921
Lauderdale116719
Escambia108217
Talladega102614
Jackson9894
Tallapoosa85579
Chambers84138
Dale83424
Blount8004
Chilton7926
Butler76436
Coffee7616
Covington73520
Pike7097
Clarke6629
Barbour5755
Marion57424
Lowndes57224
Marengo55215
Hale47626
Bullock46411
Winston45311
Perry4424
Bibb4385
Wilcox42910
Monroe4214
Randolph40110
Pickens4009
Conecuh39310
Washington39112
Sumter36018
Lawrence3491
Macon33514
Crenshaw3185
Choctaw28312
Cherokee2737
Henry2633
Geneva2611
Clay2585
Greene25111
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