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White House to Roll Out Trump Infrastructure Plan

12 February 2018

NY and Jersey have said they are unable to complete the project without sizable federal investment. That could be disappointing news for many state and local leaders who have been skeptical of the effort. Those in which state and local governments pick up most of the tab will be viewed more favorably.

Half of the $200 billion in new federal money would go towards an incentive matching fund to encourage investments by state and local governments.

President Trump is planning to announce a massive $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan Monday, unveiling the administration's long-awaited proposal aimed at rebuilding the nation's dilapidated roads, bridges and other components that have fallen into disrepair. Only $200 billion of the $1.5 trillion proposal would come from new federal funding. "But 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". But critics are already calling Trump's approach "fake" and a "scam" for its lack of new revenue and because of its reliance on funding from local governments and private investors.

The $200 billion in infrastructure spending will be paid for by reductions in spending in other federal programs, including other transit funding and grants through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, that will be outlined Monday with the release of Trump's federal budget. The new plan reduces that.

The Gateway project would cost about $30 billion to replace the Portal Bridge in New Jersey, build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and rebuild the existing deteriorating North River Tunnel that carries Amtrak trains between New Jersey and Penn Station.

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"But we want to stay away from ..."

Trump has shown "his willingness to discuss this project" and hopes "to find a fiscally responsible path forward", a senior administration official said.

The gas tax traditionally funded the highway trust fund.

Congress could still develop its own funding. But the tax has remained 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993, and it hasn't kept pace with inflation as cars became more fuel-efficient.

Groups such as the National Association of Counties, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the U.S. Conference of Mayors issued a joint statement Thursday welcoming Trump's focus on infrastructure.

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"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. He pointed to Los Angeles, where voters decided in 2016 to extend a sales tax indefinitely to pay for transportation improvements, and to more than two dozen states that have raised their fuel taxes in recent years. "One of the problems with federal funding, as you know, is it's very intermittent", he said.

Trump has not ruled out a gas tax hike and some in Congress have said they are open to the idea. But the administration is not asking Congress to do that, either.

The White House said on Sunday its budget proposal would include $200 billion for infrastructure spending and $23 billion for enhanced border security to help fulfill campaign promises by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The budget proposal also includes $782 million to hire and support 2,750 additional officers and agents at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Mulvaney said.

Congress also passed a budget deal last week that would keep the federal government going through September 2019. The president wants federal officials to make a decision in two years or less. The single review could stop second-guessing and delays from other agencies.

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President Donald Trump's proposed 2019 budget being released Monday will include his plan to spin off US air-traffic control to non-profit management, a White House official said. "So if it's 10 percent, that would be 10 to 1; 20 percent would be 5 to 1", said a senior White House official on a background call previewing the bill.

White House to Roll Out Trump Infrastructure Plan