Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

White House to Roll Out Trump Infrastructure Plan

Donald Trump White House poised to kick-off infrastructure plan
Kenny Thornton | 12 February, 2018, 10:39

Mr. Trump will propose spending $200 billion over 10 years, most in the form of new, competitive grants created to encourage states and cities to raise their own money for improving rails, airports, highways and water systems.

The proposal includes 200 billion dollars in federal funds for infrastructure spending over the next 10 years, and 18 billion dollars over 2 years to build a wall on the border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants. The final $10 billion will go towards a "capital financing fund" that will fund office-building infrastructure the federal government is already building.

The US$1.5 trillion will come from a range of incentives and instruments in which government funding will play a lesser role than they do now, instead being used to match and leverage local funding. Fifty billion will be directed towards improvements exclusively in rural infrastructure in the form of block grants to state governors, allowing them to select what projects to direct the funding towards.

But there's one major hole in the White House's proposal, Mr. Trump's plan relies nearly entirely on funding from entities outside the control of the federal government.

But Trump's proposal, which relies on creating incentives for private investment to create $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending over the next decade, faces strong opposition by Democrats and likely will be reshaped by lawmakers in Congress.

Mirai Nagasu first U.S. skater to land triple axel at Olympics
Of course, Nagasu had a huge night Sunday as well, becoming the first American woman to land a triple axel in Olympic competition. Midori Ito and Mao Asada, both from Japan, are the only other women to land the jump at the Olympics, according to Yahoo News .

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. 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. A growing number of Republican congressional leaders have called for spending and regulatory reforms to welfare programs and Medicare and Medicaid, critics say those cuts could be used to fund their tax and infrastructure programs.

"While we certainly aren't opposed to talking about Gateway, we're not going to start the discussion of rebuilding our entire nation with a single - albeit large - project, especially not one where 90 percent of the benefits go to local transit riders", the White House official said. The White House would offset the new spending with unspecified cuts in other areas of the budget.

The plan would also increase workforce participation by extending Pell Grant eligibility to workers who want to receive technical training and lowering standards for professional licensing requirements and eligibility.

Senior White House officials and President Trump are expected to tour the country to explain and advocate for their plan.

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