President Donald Trump teased part of what he wants from Congress in an infrastructure package during the State of the Union address Tuesday, revealing that he wants a minimum of $1.5 trillion in new investment.
Trump called to “rebuild our crumbling infrastructure,” and asked for Democrats and Republicans “to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.”
“Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need,” Trump said.
The importance for Trump hearkens back to his days on the campaign, promising to rebuild areas of the Midwest that have been in decay for decades. “Together, we can reclaim our building heritage,” Trump said. “We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land. And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.”
It’s unclear whether the money would come directly from appropriations, or somehow include money that could be generated through partnerships with local, state and private entities. A draft of the White House’s plan on infrastructure leaked Jan. 22 suggests putting 50 percent of any funds into incentives for public-private partnerships on infrastructure projects.
Pressing responsibility with taxpayer money, Trump said that “every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment — to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.”
While politicians and infrastructure policy experts await the release of the full plan, Trump indicated that he wants the approval process for new projects to be significantly reduced, even to a single year.
“Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one,” Trump said.
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“America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year — is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?” Trump said.
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