Monday, June 05, 2017

Trump to outline infrastructure plan that could help rural areas, but details are still in the works

Following criticism that his proposed budget would hit rural areas hardest, President Trump will travel to Ohio and Kentucky on Wednesday to announce details of his infrastructure plan that he says will help rural areas. Rural voters have called his budget a 'slap in the face' due to the cuts in funding to Medicaid, rural loan programs, crop insurance for farmers and other services.

The plan is not yet finalized, but Trump is expected to outline the proposal to dedicate "$200 billion in spending on infrastructure over several years," writes Lindsay Wise for The Sacramento Bee. A portion of the budget will be focused on "funding rural infrastructure projects, White House officials say. But they didn’t say how much," Wise notes.

Trump has talked about public-private partnerships for transportation and other infrastructure projects, but some Republicans from rural states have been skeptical that private companies would be willing to invest in rural projects with less usage and potential revenue than urban projects.

Trump will talk about his plan in two states that he carried thanks in part to rural voters, who overwhelmingly voted for him over Hillary Clinton. White House representatives say his speech will "stress his commitment to rural communities," Wise writes. "A bill to allocate the funds, however, still does not exist. White House officials couldn’t say when such legislation might appear, or exactly how the president proposed to pay for his investment in rural infrastructure."

Administration officials have said that portions of the proposed infrastructure budget "will be used to provide financial incentives for private companies to invest in roads, rails, bridges and other projects in more highly populated areas, which are more likely to provide a revenue stream to make such investments profitable," Wise writes. It is not yet clear to what degree rural areas would benefit.

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