Trump’s 2019 budget outlines formula for major infrastructure plan

Trump's 2019 budget outlines formula for major infrastructure plan

Feb. 12 (UPI) — The White House revealed its long-awaited infrastructure plan Monday, designed to be spurred by a blueprint for the 2019 budget.

President Donald Trump’s budget proposal includes significant funding for infrastructure, border security and combating the opioid epidemic, the White House said on Sunday. The infrastructure proposal was unveiled in detail on Monday morning and will be sent to Congress. Some details were revealed on Sunday night.

The infrastructure plan seeks to repair and replace U.S. highways, bridges and airports by committing $200 billion in federal funding during the next decade to stimulate at least $1.5 trillion more of state and local spending and private investment. Grants to secure local and private funding account for $100 billion of the plan. Another $50 billion will go toward rural needs, to be determined by each state. Another $20 billion is reserved for “transformative” projects, which, a 53-page report to Congress says, would underwrite “technical assistance for bold, innovative, and transformative infrastructure projects that could dramatically improve infrastructure.”

It does not specify the nature of the projects eligible for funding.
A statement: “” target=”_blank”} from the White House, highlighting pertinent points in the infrastructure plan and released with the report, quotes Trump as saying, “We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways all across our land. And we will do it with American heart, and American hands, and American grit.”

The report to Congress, outlining the plan, emphasizes that federal funds will be used as incentives to persuade local governments to raise at least 80 percent of the needed spending. Infrastructure programs typically rely on federal funding for 80 percent of the cost. The new budget would reverse the percentages.

Much of the $200 billion will be found in cuts to federal transit programs and to the Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program, which offers funding based on the needs of applying communities.

Trump’s budget, also released on Monday, includes $23 billion for border security and immigration enforcement, including the construction of a wall, and $17 billion for fighting the opioid epidemic.

Mulvaney said Sunday, “We’re going to show how you can run the government without spending all of it.”

Trump will outline some of the budget details in White House meetings with mayors and other local leaders on Monday. White House officials said there will be room for compromise with the Senate. Since 60 Senate votes will be required for approval, the budget will need some Democratic support.

“This is the start of a negotiation,” a senior administration official said. “We want it to be bipartisan.”

The budget assumes continued three percent growth in the United States’ gross domestic product in the coming decade. That figure is more optimistic than many economists’ projections. The U.S. economy grew at a 2.5 percent pace in 2017.