The bulk of the money for President Donald Trump’s proposed $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan wouldn’t come from federal funds, and the plan focuses heavily on deregulation.
While Republicans support deregulation and Democrats back infrastructure spending, Trump could fall short of attaining the bipartisan backing he hopes for on the bill.
“It’s politically tough. Democrats may not want to give him a win on anything, and they came up with their own proposal, and they don’t like the reform-based proposal,” Michael Sargent, policy analyst for transportation and infrastructure at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.
The Trump administration is pushing a package that would use $200 billion in federal funds to leverage $1.3 billion in state, local, tribal, and private-sector funds. Typically, the federal government puts up the bulk of the money, Sargent noted. The plan would also make some of the federal grants competitive.
“In the Republican caucus, fiscal conservatives will want to know if this will be paid for,” Sargent said. “Even then, it’s not clear they would support $200 billion in new spending.”
During his State of the Union address, Trump declared, “We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways all across our land. And we will do it with American heart, and American hands, and American grit.”
The Trump plan will also include an incentive program to promote accountability, requiring projects to meet certain benchmarks to demonstrate progress on a project to get federal funding.
The proposal includes $50 billion designated for rural America. The bulk of that money would go to state governors to provide flexibility on what it would be spent on.
The plan calls for eliminating regulatory hurdles and streamlining the federal approval process for projects. That includes establishing a “one agency, one decision” structure for environmental reviews, and shortening the lengthy environmental review process to no more than two years.
“This is a different approach to infrastructure. It’s the federal government putting up about 20 percent and asking the states to put up the rest,” he said. “This is a mixed bag. A lot depends on how it’s paid for, and if Congress would enact the potential reforms of regulation and spending.”