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Infrastructure Plan Due in January

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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The administration of President Donald J. Trump is reportedly planning to release its long-awaited plan to jump-start infrastructure work in the United States in January.

Infrastructure spending, a much talked-about issue for both major candidates during the 2016 campaign, was originally slated to be an early priority for the administration, but took a back seat to efforts related to health care and the tax code.

Bridge construction
© iStock.com / levkr

A plan to fund updates to U.S. infrastructure is now due in January, according to administration officials.

Now, according to Bloomberg, the president plans to release a “document of principles” before the State of the Union, which takes place at the end of January. It will be up to Congress to then create a bill that matches the administration’s principles.

Meeting the Players

In the wake of the announcement, Trump met with Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on Monday (Dec. 11). Shuster will likely have an important role in translating the “document of principles” into concrete legislation.

It’s not the first time the plan—which reportedly will call for $200 billion in federal spending to leverage an additional $800 billion in private investment—has been said to be near at hand. In May, marking 2017 Infrastructure Week, Chao told attendees of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event that the plan’s unveiling was weeks away. Later in the summer, she said the plan would be released in the fall.

Paying for It

Still undetermined is exactly how the federal government will fund the infrastructure plan. Early in the process, analysts speculated that a one-time tax on corporations’ foreign holdings could be used, but according the The Hill, money from international tax reform is on the table to potentially make up for funding lost in the proposed tax bill that appears to be nearing approval in the House and Senate.

Elaine Chao, Bill Shuster
Photos: Public domain

Trump met Monday with Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, left, and Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Trump has also suggested multiple times over the past year that he may be open to raising the federal gas tax by 7 cents per gallon in order to fund infrastructure improvements. The gas tax—18.4 cents per gallon—has not increased since 1993, and Republican lawmakers have historically resisted the idea of raising it.

The federal Highway Trust Fund has faced chronic shortages in recent years because the fuel tax has not kept up with inflation. The state of California raised its gas tax by 12 cents per gallon last month in order to help fund highway projects. 

   

Tagged categories: Funding; Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; President Trump; Program/Project Management

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