A man works on the Southern Nevada portion of US Interstate 11 on May 19, 2017. Photo: AP
Washington (People's Daily) -- On Monday, the White House released President Donald Trump's long-awaited infrastructure measure.
The plan aims to stimulate $1.5 trillion for infrastructure efforts, shrink the project approval process to two years, invest in rural infrastructure, empower state and local authorities, and provide better training for the future workforce.
Trump said, “Our nation’s infrastructure is in an unacceptable state of disrepair, which damages our country’s competitiveness and our citizens’ quality of life. 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.
As for the capital needed for construction, $200 billion in federal funds will spur at least $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure investments. Of the $200 billion, half will go towards creating an incentives program to spur additional dedicated funds from states, localities, and the private sector.
At least $20 billion will be dedicated to the Transformative Projects Program which will provide federal aid for bold and innovative projects that have the potential to dramatically improve America’s infrastructure.
Another $20 billion will be allocated to expanding infrastructure financing programs.
$10 billion will go to a new Federal Capital Revolving Fund, which will reduce inefficient leasing of federal real property which would be more cost-effective to purchase. And a new fund will allow some incremental revenues from energy development on public lands to pay for the capital and maintenance needs of public lands infrastructure.
According to President Trump’s $4.4 trillion budget blueprint on Monday, deep cuts to domestic programs and a large increase for military would include measures to trim the deficit by $7 trillion over the next decade.
Many analysts and lawmakers do not expect Congress to pass the large package. The plan will fall under the purview of at least six House committees and five Senate committees.
Democrats have already denounced the anticipated package, calling for increased direct federal investment to address the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, and other public works.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) worried that the private sector would have too much control, leading to things like toll lanes where drivers usually travel for free.
“You need to put some real federal dollars behind infrastructure,” said Schumer.
Republicans also expressed concerns about the effects of the new tax law and the recent budget deal on the federal deficit, meaning another $200 billion spending proposal is unlikely to get much support from Congress.