Thursday, February 01, 2018

Rural projects to make up a quarter of Trump's infrastructure plan; other details scant

In his State of the Union address, President Trump asked Congress to write a bill that would fund at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure development. A fact sheet released yesterday provided some insight into the long-awaited plan, calling for an unspecified amount of increased federal spending over the next decade to spur additional spending from cities, states and private companies on major projects. "A week ago, a leaked document said the administration would seek $200 billion in grants over 10 years. The federal government now pays a larger share of the cost of infrastructure work," Chuck Abbott reports for Successful Farming.

Though the fact sheet is short on details, it lays out some parameters for the plan. Half of the new infrastructure funds would go toward incentivizing state and local investments, and one quarter of the funds will go to rural infrastructure projects such as "rebuilding roads, providing clean water to rural families and businesses, expanding broadband access, and supplying affordable, reliable power."

The increased infrastructure spending would be offset by as-yet unspecified budget cuts. "Officials would not detail where those cuts would come from, or how the proposal would effectively leverage at least $6.50 in additional infrastructure spending for every dollar spent by the federal government, a ratio many infrastructure experts consider far-fetched," Jim Tankersley and Julie Hirschfeld Davis report for The New York Times. The plan leaves it up to Congress to figure out the details; that may make for an uphill fight, considering the strained relationship between Congressional Republicans and Democrats these days.

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