President Donald Trump yesterday unveiled a long-awaited infrastructure plan that asks the US Congress to authorise $200bn over 10 years to stimulate $1.5tn in improvements paid for by states, localities and private investors.
The plan, which administration officials acknowledge faces a tough path ahead, would reshape how the federal government funds roads, bridges, highways and other infrastructure projects.
If it comes to fruition, many Americans could face higher local taxes, fees and tolls.
In remarks at the White House, Trump cited “the critical need to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure” and said his proposal would “spur the biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in American history.”
“Our roads are in bad shape,” Trump said. “And we’re going to get the roads in great shape. And, very important, we’re going to make our infrastructure modernised. And we’re really way behind schedule. We’re way behind other countries.”
The plan does not offer as much new federal funding as Democrats wanted nor does it directly address how the federal government will find the money it does call for.
The administration called the proposal a starting point for negotiations.
Trump has made his infrastructure plan one of his top legislative priorities this year, ahead of the November mid-term congressional elections in which Democrats will try to take over control of Congress from his fellow Republicans.
Legislation for Trump’s infrastructure proposal would need 60 votes for passage in the 100-seat Senate.
But with Republicans holding only a 51-49 majority, they would need some Democratic support for passage.
With strong Democratic opposition expected, the plan faces an uphill battle.
“Trump’s plan is just another giveaway to corporations and wealthy developers at the expense of American workers, and it fails to address some of the most pressing infrastructure needs our country faces,” the Democratic National Committee said.
The president was yesterday meeting state and local officials including the governors of Wisconsin, Louisiana, Virginia and Maine and was due to meet congressional leaders tomorrow on the proposal.
“The problem the states have and local leaders have with funding the infrastructure is horrendous,” Trump said at the White House.
Trump is scheduled to visit the Orlando, Florida area on Friday to try to sell the plan to the public.
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