Washington: U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday unveiled a massive $1.5 trillion plan to modernise America’s infrastructure including $200 billion in federal funding.
Describing it as a most comprehensive infrastructure bill in the history of the US, Mr. Trump said the plan addresses more than traditional infrastructure — like roads, bridges and airports — as well as drinking and wastewater systems, waterways, water resources, energy, rural infrastructure, public lands, veterans’ hospitals and Brownfield and Superfund sites.
“To help build a better future for all Americans, I ask the Congress to act soon on an infrastructure bill that will: stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in new investment over the next 10 years, shorten the process for approving projects to two years or less, address unmet rural infrastructure needs, empower State and local authorities and train the American workforce of the future,” Mr. Trump said in a message to the Congress.
“The reforms set forth in my plan will strengthen the economy, make our country more competitive, reduce the costs of goods and services for American families and enable Americans to build their lives on top of the best infrastructure in the world,” Mr. Trump said.
According to the plan, new investments will be made in rural America which has been left behind for too long, decision making authority will be returned to State and local governments, regulatory barriers that needlessly get in the way of infrastructure projects will be removed, permitting for infrastructure projects will be streamlined and shortened.
Noting that $200 billion in Federal funds will spur at least $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure investments, the White House said federal infrastructure spending will promote State, local and private investments and maximise the value of every taxpayer dollar.
Of the $200 billion, $100 billion will create an Incentives Programme to spur additional dedicated funds from States, localities and the private sector.
$20 billion will be dedicated to the Transformative Projects Programme. $20 billion will be allocated to expanding infrastructure financing programmes. Of the USD 20 billion, USD 14 billion will go to expanding a number of existing credit programmes: TIFIA, WIFIA, RRIF and rural utility lending.
While $6 billion will go to expanding Private Activity Bonds, $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.
According to the White House, $50 billion of the $200 billion in direct Federal funding will be devoted to a new Rural Infrastructure Programme to rebuild and modernise infrastructure in rural America.
“The bulk of the dollars in the Rural Infrastructure Programme will be allocated to State governors, giving States the flexibility to prioritise their communities’ needs. The remaining funds will be distributed through rural performance grants to encourage the best use of taxpayer dollars,” the White House said.