Feb 12, 2018, 4:27 PM ET

Trump plan calls for $1.5 trillion in 'investment' to fix nation's infrastructure


President Donald Trump unveiled his plan to fix the nation's infrastructure Monday, outlining a strategy he says will spark "new investment" to solve the problem, but Democrats call the proposal insufficient.

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“Washington will no longer be a roadblock to progress. Washington will be your partner,” the president told local and state officials invited to the White House.

The president's proposal calls for $200 billion in new federal funds that the administration anticipates will “stimulate $1.5 trillion in new investment in infrastructure,” with states, local governments and private partnerships expected to bear the brunt of the financial burden for achieving one of the president’s key campaign promises.

The president welcomed some governors and mayors to the White House for a discussion of infrastructure, in which he sought to parallel what he is trying to do at the federal level with his experience in business. He specifically touted the story of the ice skating rink project in New York City he said he took over after it had been mismanaged, citing it as an example of how he wants to streamline what he said would be an “unprecedented” investment in the nation’s infrastructure.

“When I did the Wollman Rink, it was seven years they couldn't get it built. It would have been forever, they couldn’t get it built, and I did it in a few months at a much smaller price,” Trump said. “I said, you know, I like to able to have my daughter Ivanka, who is will - I would like her to be able to going ice skating before she doesn’t want to ice skate.”

“We did it for a tiny fraction of the cost. And it is really no different with a roadway. No different with a bridge or a tunnel or any of the things we'll be fixing,” the president continued.

The White House infrastructure outline features four overarching goals: 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.

HOW WILL THE MONEY BE ALLOCATED? Describing how $1.5 trillion in new investment would be generated out of just $200 billion in federal funds, an administration official said that $100 billion of the money will go towards incentives for state and local governments to use in starting up infrastructure projects. Twenty billion will go towards expanding loan programs and private activity bonds. Fifty billion will be directed towards improvements solely in rural infrastructure in the form of block grants to state governors, allowing them to select what projects to direct the funding towards. Another $20 billion will go to “transformative programs,” or infrastructure projects rooted in promoting new or innovative ideas. The final $10 billion will go towards a “capital financing fund” that will fund office-building infrastructure the federal government is already building.

Altogether, the official said the $1.5 trillion prediction is based on “state and local governments - how will they likely respond to this program.” Democrats have criticized the $200 billion in federal spending in the past as insufficient compared to the needs facing the nation's roads, bridges and waterways.

WHAT ELSE IS IN THE PLAN? The administration official said the plan also seeks to expand eligibility for Pell Grants and adding more flexibility to license requirements for people looking to enter some type of trade rather than a four-year college.

“So if you're licensed to perform a trade in one part of the country, you can move to another part of the country and transfer that license,” the official said. “And then expand out the use of apprenticeships to help those that are interested in going to trades, develop their skills, and move more gradually into the workforce.”

WHERE’S THE MONEY COMING FROM? The administration official said the $200 billion in funding is included in the president’s budget request, also out Monday, and said the administration plans to “pay for the $200 billion out of savings from other areas of the federal budget.”

The official would not say where exactly the $200 billion is being cut from in other areas of the budget – though they said “there are some reductions in things like transit funding and TIGER grants, and things where the administration thinks that infrastructure funds haven’t been spent efficaciously.”

HOW WILL THE PRESIDENT SELL IT? The administration official said to expect the president to travel in the coming weeks and months around the country to promote the infrastructure plan – along with Cabinet officials similar to how the White House sold the tax plan.

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  • Pat Dunne

    Seems like a snake oil sales gimmick, telling people the program is $1.5 Trillion but he might donate $200 Billion?
    Trump economics is just for entertaining dummy's..

  • MAGreenA

    Trump is destroying the Republican Party. This plan is ridiculous. He now wants to go after worker's tips, food stamp program, Social Security, Medicare, and peoples earned pensions. Maybe it was his plan all along.

  • Pologize3

    "You know this is a totally awesome plan. It's on a yuuuge piece of paper."

  • RZC

    This clown prince trump and his predictions are becoming a massive joke. With the tax cut he said companies would be hiring , well where's the beef Donnie ? This just came up
    JC Penney to close Wisconsin facility, eliminating 670 jobs
    Than yesterday Amazon of all companies announced a pretty good size job reduction in staff at a location in there organization ' I don't remember where '
    Their has been several other announcements along this similar line recently ,so Donnie WHERE'S THE BEEF ? It appears to me it's just more lie's and spin which you appear to excel at..

  • Lee Thompson

    Plan? What plan . . . It's called "dump on the states" after leading governors to believe there would actually be funding coming from the federal government. The tax dollars citizens pay to the federal government now go to fund billionaire tax breaks . . . someone has to pay the bills, and it's the working person.

  • Camus53

    Not one word, not one stipulation in this proposal demanding....buy American, built by Americans!

    BTW...we need this bill passed...hopefully larger in scope ...hopefully with appropriate stipulations including drop dead timelines and penalities not carte blanche approvals for cost and timeline over runs...hopefully with everything sooner, much sooner than later.

  • Peter Carson

    There is no doubt that the infrastructure in this country needs help. Regardless of how it is paid for (toll roads, higher use fees, state/local taxes, bonds, etc.) it will be the citizens that will pay for this. I fail to understand why it is better to rely on hundreds or thousands of local/state organizations to figure out the majority of the funding strategies than it would be to have the Federal Government do it.It appears that deficits no longer matter, so what is the functional difference between a $1.0 trillion annual deficit and a $1.2 trillion dollar annual deficit. At least these projects should be viable long enough that the future generations that will end paying for them will be able to use them. Much of the debt we are incurring is of no tangible use to future generations.

  • John

    Listened to the "Architect" of this plan last night and when asked about what savings he said we are not identifying what cuts will be made and specifically transferred over to the fund, similar to the Treasury Department's one page analysis of the tax plan after SOT's statement about "Significant Treasury Research." Once again an F would be appropriate in any economics or political science class for a few bullets and nothing behind it, like thought.

  • MauiOhana808

    Actually the flow chart donnie is holding up is of the process to do his hair every morning!!!!
    Make America Happy Again!!!
    Aloha : D

  • sjc_1

    States have a hard time balancing budgets as is, so they are talking toll roads and bridges. Another tax on the working middle class while corporations and the rich get a HUGE tax cut.

  • IndependentforFreedom

    Dummy Donnie -- Give us back the $20B GD dumb wall money you are stealing from the Middle Class and put that money back into the economy since my stinking 26 cents a paycheck does nothing but get me Angry fighting mad at just being able to afford a pack of Trump Tic Tacs while your $B$ class cesspool donors celebrate their tax rewards in the billions and find no problem donating $500,000++ to snakes like you, Trump, Pence, Cotton, Ryan, Gowdy, Tinfoil hat Ron Johnson, and the rest of you despicable GOP donor thieves and your porno queen toadies with no souls to get re-elected and back into stealing from the Amercan People all over again - come on people, are we going to allow them to once agian call us their stupid working puppet slaves as they laughingly do behind our backs?? - RESIST - FIGHT - REMOVE - WAKE UP - VOTE the Republican Robber Barons OUT.

  • mollydtt

    The sham that is Trump is still being endorsed and idolized by the congressional GOP.

    The president is mentally unfit, and the GOP is helping him destroy everything.

  • Anthony

    Once again, Trump wants other people to foot the bills for his projects. Trump wants Mexico to pay for a border wall. He wants the states to come up with most of the money for his infrastructure plan. If Trump had not passed tax cuts for the rich, he could have had the money for the infrastructure plan. But we all know what Trump and his rich friends want, and it is not infrastructure improvement.

  • Pologize3

    Trump said. “I said, you know, I like to able to have my daughter Ivanka, who is will - I would like her to be able to going ice skating before she doesn’t want to ice skate.”

    Dear God. Someone help this man complete sentences.

  • Puddin' Twain

    Cost of goods will rise because shippers will have to pass along the cost of road and bridge tolls.

  • Puddin' Twain

    Soon the Internet will be full of maps showing which roads are free to travel on and which ones to avoid.

  • JusticeOnTap

    I wonder how much of that money is going to find its way into Trump's pockets....

  • Galileo Galilei

    If you want to see the future of American infrastructure under republican dictatorship, look at Porto Rico.

  • jboh

    States don't have the $. That means tolls/taxes to pay for this plan. Private $ will require a generous interest rate, or they won't ante-up. Ever drive in Dallas? Toll booths every couple exits. Did C Christie write tis for donnie? I hope donnie's followers like traffic jams.

  • Kobrakai7272

    If you are curious about what this "plan" might look like at ground level, spend an evening rush hour in Dallas, Texas. Shiny new toll roads that, during peak times, are beyond the means of the average commuter and "free roads" that are jam-packed and in dire need of maintenance they'll never get because all of the funding goes to new toll roads.

  • Dan

    Private investments in road construction will mean tolls will be placed on these roads to pay for them! How would you like to get on your local expressway into your city and have to pay a toll each way? Or, having to have to pay a toll on a city street just because a private company paid to repave the road?

  • FlorMedDoc

    If Trump and the republicans get their way your daily commute to work will cost you half your salary.

  • ryanwiwb

    This plan isn't going to mean much in states like Wisconsin where we don't have enough money for roads as it is. It's not like Trump is throwing any real cash into this.