Reaction Roundup: President Trump’s Infrastructure Plan

Since last week’s release of details of President Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure plan and his proposed FY 2019 budget, reaction has been rolling in. Here’s a primer on where to read more about the President’s overall approach to infrastructure and various aspects of the plan getting attention, as well as what various stakeholder groups and analysts are saying.

What’s in the Infrastructure Plan

The Trump plan looks to find $200 billion to attract additional funds from states, localities and private investors and generate a total of $1.5 trillion to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure. The White House is proposing to spend that $200 billion thusly:

  • $100 billion on competitive grants for state and local governments;
  • $50 billion in block grants to states for rural infrastructure;
  • $20 billion to expand low-cost federal loans and other borrowing;
  • $20 billion for transformative projects; and
  • $10 billion to improve federally owned infrastructure.

The plan seeks to eliminate regulatory barriers and speed up the permitting process to deliver projects in shorter timeframes by streamlining the federal role, delegating to states and piloting new approaches.

A number of other priorities detailed in the plan have also received attention. Among them:

  • Selling off national airports and other federal infrastructure assets;
  • Lifting the ban on interstate tolling; and
  • Requiring that new transit projects require some form of value capture.

Read the Plan

Further Reading on the Plan

What’s Not in the Plan

In short, how to fund the plan, as many pointed out…

Also, provisions to address climate change…

Tolling & Public-Private Partnerships

The Trump infrastructure plan seeks to use federal dollars to leverage a mix of private and public funding sources. The plan also puts an emphasis on expanded tolling both to generate revenue and to alleviate congestion. As noted above, The White House wants to give states the flexibility to toll interstate highways if they so choose. The administration believes Florida’s I-4 Ultimate Project could be a model for the country when it comes to tolling and public-private partnerships.

Further Reading

Impacts to Transit & Amtrak

The President’s proposed budget would phase out the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Improvement Grants program over a decade and eliminate funding for projects competing for grants under the FTA’s New Starts program. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, program, which has funded numerous transit-related projects, would get the axe. The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act could also see cuts. The President has proposed just $738 million to fund Amtrak for FY 2019. Amtrak’s budget request is for $11 billion. Transit advocates suggested the administration is trying to get to the magical $200 billion number for the federal contribution to the President’s infrastructure plan by cutting funding for these public transportation programs in the budget.

Further Reading  

Potential Impact on Individual States

There has also been a great deal of analysis over the last couple of weeks about how the President’s plans could impact individual states. Among them:

Stakeholder Reaction & Analysis

A variety of transportation and infrastructure stakeholder organizations weighed in with their thoughts and analysis on the President’s infrastructure plan and budget following their release. Among them:

Further Reading

So, what are the chances for the infrastructure plan and where do things go from here?

There has been no shortage of opinions on those questions either…

Gas Tax

Just two days after the release of his infrastructure plan, President Trump seemed to contradict the stance of his administration when he reportedly told a group of lawmakers that he wants to raise the gasoline tax by 25 cents a gallon to pay for the plan (although some Senators who were in the meeting later called that “wishful thinking”). That idea produced a variety of opinions as well.

Mileage Tax

The release of a White House Council of Economic Advisers outlook report this week that highlighted Oregon’s mileage-based road usage charge program, OReGO, prompted speculation that the administration might be willing to support mileage fees to fund infrastructure investment. Read more here, here and here.