Trump Wants To Sell Off Federal Utilities

REUTERS/Chris Baltimore

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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The White House plan for rebuilding America’s infrastructure asks Congress to authorize federal power companies to divest some assets.

Some federal assets would be better managed by state and local governments and private companies that would mitigate “sub-optimal investment decisions” and taxpayer risk caused by federal ownership, according to the White House plan released Monday.

Assets would only be offloaded if the sale would provide value for taxpayers. The agency making the sale would outline how the revenue would be spent and dictate the conditions of the trade. It would also demonstrate the increased value taxpayers would receive.

The proposal cuts a rule that directs funds from selling federal energy assets to be placed in a land and water conservation fund, The Washington Post reports.

The infrastructure plan lists several federal assets that would be considered for partial or full divestment, including major airports, highways, and utilities. The Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Tennessee Valley Authority were both listed as targets for divestment.

“It’s a much more collaborative and creative way of” raising funds, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said, according to The Washington Post. “Unfortunately, there’s not enough money to be able to pay for all the infrastructure needs of our country.”

Others saw the proposal as the federal government attempting to shirk.

“All I can see now is a federal obligation that they’re trying to push off. Where would we get the money from without a revenue source?” Virginia Finance Secretary Aubrey Layne said, according to WaPo.

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