January 24, 2019

Trump's infrastructure plan doesn't favor Gateway tunnel project

12 February 2018, 04:10 | Devin Moran

The plan will focus on two main areas Incentivizing new infrastructure projects and streamlining the federal permitting

Here's what's in the Trump administration's $200 billion infrastructure plan

President Trump will finally be unveiling his long-awaited $1.5 trillion plan to fix and rebuild the nation's crumbling highways, bridges, railroads, airports, seaports and water systems Monday.

Under Trump's plan, though, the federal government presumably would take a back seat even in paying for large projects that could have a widespread impact, like the NY region's effort to replace damaged and traffic-choked passenger rail tunnels under the Hudson River.

Democrats, including the party's leaders in the House, said that while the bill poured tens of billions of dollars into their favored programs, it did not also include a solution for illegal immigrant "Dreamers".

In a brief synopsis of the budget released by the White House Sunday evening, it said it "imposes a fiscal discipline on Washington spending that many in today's political climate reject, yet which remains more important than ever".

The administration wants state and local governments to pay more for infrastructure, and it wants the federal government to speed up its approval processes for those projects.

Almost $300 billion in new spending included in the bill approved on Friday will mean the annual budget deficit will exceed $1 trillion in 2019, said the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a private fiscal policy watchdog group. "They can sell bonds, use public private partnerships, create user fees, etc".

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. The feds will be looking for "dedicated revenue streams" from states, counties, cities, and private enterprises to match federal funds. But the 10-year yield closed at 2.86 percent on Friday, and the Federal Reserve is expected to hike rates three times this year.

"The way that we get to $1.5 trillion is we could be putting 10 percent or 20 percent in terms of the cost of that project". White House officials admitted they had fumbled the situation while insisting their mistake was merely in misjudging the character of a man they thought they knew. Major mass transit projects are often funded on a 50-50 federal-local basis.

"This is in no way, shape or form. a take it or leave it proposal", said one senior administration official.

A poll administration officials cited from September found 84% of Americans think the country needs infrastructure investment.

But even an investment of $1.5 trillion towards infrastructure over the next decade won't be almost enough to keep pace with the needed repairs.

The administration hopes to reshuffle the federal government's budget to find $200 billion for new infrastructure initiatives, although some of that money would come from cuts to Amtrak and other infrastructure grants that it considers ineffective.

Today we will learn how president Trump plans to pay for his ambitious plan to overhaul our nation's infrastructure.

The infrastructure outline will feature four overarching goals, according to the White House: stimulate $1.5 trillion in new investment and infrastructure; shorten the permitting process to two years; invest in rural infrastructure; and make improvements in training the workforce that would be generated as a part of the plan. The current permitting structure is overly concerned with preventing litigation and not enough on outcomes, the official said.

During a briefing on the plan, the official, who did not want to be named, told reporters, "What we're going to do is expand eligibility for them and increase the amount - in fact, we'd lift the state volume of caps".

Now, White House officials say they are ready - after months of what they characterized as behind-the-scenes meetings with members of both political parties - to push through a plan that they concede will not be enacted without the support of both Democrats and Republicans.

President Trump's 2019 budget proposal will include $23 billion for border security and immigration enforcement, $21 billion for infrastructure, and $17 billion to combat the opioid epidemic.

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