This morning, the Trump administration unveiled it’s much anticipated “Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America.” The proposal is a broad “infrastructure plan” that isn’t limited to roads and bridges, but addresses other projects including drinking and wastewater systems, waterways, water resources, energy, rural infrastructure, public lands, veterans’ hospitals and Brownfield and Superfund sites. The set of principles tracks closely with what AED and other stakeholders have advocated for since last year.
“I commend President Trump for focusing on rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure,” said AED’s President Brian P. McGuire. “The administration’s proposal is just the start of the conversation. It’s now Congress’ responsibility to pass legislation that incorporates many of the principles outlined by the president combined with substantial, sustained investment and new revenue to provide long-term certainty to the construction industry. Americans are craving bipartisan leadership and this will show the country that Washington is serious about rebuilding our infrastructure. It’s time to turn words into action for America.”
Key components of the president’s plan include:
- $200 billion in total funding that will be offset by cuts to federal programs (in other words, no new revenue streams for the Highway Trust Fund or other infrastructure programs);
- Incentivizing states and localities to take on greater responsibility in the design, build and maintenance of infrastructure projects ($100 billion);
- Establishing a “Rural Infrastructure Program” ($50 billion) for capital investments in rural infrastructure investments and a “Transformative Projects Program” ($20 billion) to fund “ambitious, exploratory, and ground-breaking project ideas that have significantly more risk than standard infrastructure projects, but offer a much larger reward profile”;
- Expanding the use of private activity bonds (PABs) and existing federal credit programs, including Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) ($20 billion);
- Providing greater flexibility to toll on interstates and streamlines the permitting process by establishing a “One Agency, One Decision” environmental review structure;
- Encouraging reforms to address the nation’s skills gap, including expanding the use of Pell Grants to short-term programs that lead to a credential or certification in an in-demand fields and modernizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.
Infrastructure investment will be at the top of the agenda at the 2018 AED/EDA Washington Fly-In on March 20-22. Register today and help push Congress to provide the necessary resources to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.