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Thread: Trump To Unveil Long-Awaited $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

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    Trump To Unveil Long-Awaited $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

    But only plans on actually spending $20 billion a year for the next decade. It isn't really a federal program to spend $1.5 trillion on infrastructure.

    President Trump will finally be unveiling his long-awaited $1.5 trillion plan to repair and rebuild the nation's crumbling highways, bridges, railroads, airports, seaports and water systems Monday. But, the proposal will not be one that offers large sums of federal funding to states for infrastructure needs, but it is instead a financing plan that shifts much of the funding burden onto the states and onto local governments.

    Critics say that will lead to higher state and local taxes, and an increased reliance on user fees, such as tolls, water and sewer fees, transit fares and airline ticket taxes.

    Senior White House officials who briefed reporters over the weekend say the plan is aimed at fixing the current system of funding infrastructure that they say is broken in two ways.

    The first is that the country has been under-investing in infrastructure, leading a state of growing disrepair. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation a grade of D+ for the condition of transit, highway, bridge, rail, water and other infrastructure, and says the country is in need of an investment of $2 trillion more than is currently budgeted.

    The second way the White House says the system is broken is in the lengthy federal permitting process, which officials say can take five to 10 years or longer, driving up costs.

    A program that would flip funding burden

    Administration officials say the president's plan addresses the funding shortfall by committing $200 million in federal funding over 10 years to stimulate state and local spending and private investment. Half of the funding, $100 billion, will be used as incentives to entice cities, counties and states to raise at least 80 percent of the infrastructure costs themselves.

    So, for example, if a state has a project or need identified and can come up with 80 or 90 percent of the funding for it through increased state or local taxes, like the gas tax, or with user fees like tolls, then under this plan, the federal government would kick in the rest.

    Critics worry that would lead to only projects that could generate revenue, such as toll roads or bridges, getting funded.

    That's a radical departure from the way many projects are funded now. Funding for federal-aid highways, including interstates, is usually allocated in an 80-20 federal-state split. This program would flip that funding burden. Major mass transit projects are often funded on a 50-50 federal-local basis. Again, this plan puts a much greater burden on local taxpayers and users.

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    Zippy, a secret supporter of states conference.

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