December 14, 2018

Trump budget will include money for border wall: Mulvaney

12 February 2018, 10:40 | Devin Moran

President Donald Trump is unveiling his long-awaited infrastructure plan on Monday

President Donald Trump is unveiling his long-awaited infrastructure plan on Monday

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. "And yes, we want to ensure greater accountability so taxpayers understand the benefits they are actually receiving for their billions of dollars".

"After we have hearings, after the committees write their bills, we'll be working very closely with (majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell).to determine a final legislative vehicle where we can put everything together and get it passed into law".

White House officials said they hope the long overdue need for repairing crumbling bridges, roads and other infrastructure, and popular support for such fixes, will draw strong bipartisan support in Congress for the plan. "And the reason we went from a trillion to $1.5 trillion is because we've actually received a, sort of, more enthusiastic response than we anticipated from state and local governments". 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.

"This is a bait and switch, it's going to raise costs for state and local governments and ultimately the taxpayers", said Democratic Congresswoman Janice Schakowsky of IL on a call organized by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The president noted that tackling the nation's infrastructure should also include partnering with state and local governments as well as the private sector "where appropriate".

The White House maintains that an 80 percent match is just a suggestion, not a requirement.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has released a summary of its budget proposal to Congress. The White House did specify that they would reduce spending on transit funding, which includes federal funding for Amtrak. 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. Federal funding would be capped at 20 percent of the overall cost of any given project, however, leaving cities and states responsible for raising the other 80 percent.

But he said he believes lawmakers in Congress will burn through the allocated funds and, if so, the spending should reflect the president's agenda. The White House would offset the new spending with unspecified cuts in other areas of the budget.

The plan also aims to invest in rural infrastructure and something that doesn't directly relate to brick-and-mortar infrastructure - workforce training.

Only $200 billion of that, however, would come from direct federal spending, according to White House aides.

Topping the priorities in the budget plan is the $200 billion request in federal funds to spur about $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments with state, local and private partners, Mulvaney said.

Over the weekend, White House officials emphasized that numerous objectives in Trump's plan enjoy wide bipartisan support - the only sticking point is how to achieve them.

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