White House Releases Infrastructure Proposal

On February 12, the Trump Administration released its long-awaited plan for investment in the nation’s infrastructure. As expected, the plan calls for $200 billion in federal funding over ten years, designed to generate additional state, local, and private investment. The White House believes this combined investment will total $1.5 trillion. For comparison, the stimulus bill signed by President Obama in 2009 contained slightly more than $100 billion for infrastructure.

It should be noted that most, if not all, of the $200 billion is funding reallocated from existing infrastructure programs. Additionally, the President’s FY2019 budget request, also released on February 12, calls for nearly the same amount in cuts to infrastructure programs across the federal government.

The $200 billion is allocated into various program categories:
  • $100 billion for infrastructure incentives, to “spur additional dedicated funds from States, localities, and the private sector”;
  • $50 billion for rural infrastructure, devoted to “a new Rural Infrastructure Program to rebuild and modernize infrastructure in rural America”;
  • $20 billion for a “Transformative Projects Program,” which will “focus on projects that could have a significant positive impact on States, cities, and localities but may not attract private sector investment because of the project’s unique characteristics”;
  • $14 billion for expanding several existing federal credit programs: Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act program, Water Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act Program, Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing program, and rural utility lending;
  • $10 billion for a new Federal Capital Revolving Fund, which “will reduce inefficient leasing of Federal real property which would be more cost-effective to purchase”; and
  • $6 billion to expanding Private Activity Bonds.
In addition to funding, the plan calls for major changes to the regulatory process. Specifically, the proposal calls for:
  • One federal review document and one record of decision on permitting, requiring the lead agency to reach a decision within 21 months, with an additional three months to complete the process;
  • Streamline Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water reviews; and
  • Streamline the National Environmental Policy Act review process to only consider alternatives that are feasible.
APWA is appreciative of the focus the Trump Administration has put on infrastructure and the focus on regulatory reform coming from both the administration and the Congress. On both infrastructure investment and regulatory reform, APWA will continue to work with the administration and the Congress to make the case for the best possible solutions for our nation's public works professionals.