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Entries in Federal Transportation (6)

Wednesday
May242017

Trump slips infrastructure plan into budget

Politico

May 24, 2017

The Trump administration finally laid out its long-promised vision for a $1 trillion national infrastructure plan Tuesday — with nary a peep of fanfare and the president not even in the country to talk it up.

It arrived as a six-page fact sheet packaged with President Donald Trump’s $4.1 trillion proposed 2018 budget. As expected, it laid out a vision for $200 billion in direct federal spending over the next decade on needs such as roads, bridges, tunnels, railroads and expanded broadband, along with incentives for states, cities and private investors and efforts to reduce the burdens of regulations. 

“The administration’s goal is to seek long-term reform on how infrastructure projects are regulated, funded, delivered and maintained,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told reporters Tuesday. She said the administration expects “to have more details forthcoming,” including a legislative package later this year, but described the concepts handed out.

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Wednesday
Mar292017

Optimism rising for infrastructure deal

The Hill

March 29, 2017

President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan is grabbing some of the spotlight in Washington after Republicans’ bruising defeat on healthcare.

The rebuilding package was expected to sit on the sidelines until the fall, but lawmakers on Capitol Hill think that timeline could be accelerated with more room on the legislative agenda and an administration eager to score a victory.

“This just leapfrogged,” Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), who was on Trump’s transition team, told The Hill. “This is something the president has wanted to do. But with healthcare pushed to the back burner, I believe that it’s infrastructure that gains steam.”

“It moves everything up if you take [healthcare] out,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee’s subcommittee on transportation and infrastructure.

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Tuesday
Mar282017

Scoop: Trump wants to do tax reform and infrastructure at the same time

Axios

March 28, 2017

The Trump administration is looking at driving tax reform and infrastructure concurrently, according to a White House source with direct knowledge.

It's a major strategic shift - infrastructure was likely going to be parked until next year - and is only possible because of last week's healthcare debacle.

President Trump feels burned by the ultra conservative House Freedom Caucus and is ready to deal with Democrats. Dangling infrastructure spending is an obvious way to buy the support of potentially dozens of Dems, meaning he wouldn't have to bargain with the hardliners.

Bill Shuster, the guy who would steer Trump's infrastructure package through the House, tells me he's optimistic Trump could get it done this year.

"It certainly changes the calculus of the timing with the defeat of healthcare," says Shuster, the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in an interview in his Capitol Hill office Monday.

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Friday
Feb242017

Trump to map out infrastructure ideas in address to Congress

The Hill

February 24, 2017

President Trump will begin to map out his highly anticipated ideas for repairing U.S. roads, bridges and airports in the coming weeks, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday.

Spicer said during the daily briefing that infrastructure issues will be addressed in Trump’s joint speech to Congress next week as well as in the budget, which is expected to be released in mid-March. 

“The infrastructure projects and priorities that the president has talked about it, whether it’s air [traffic] control in our airports or roads and bridges, will be something that he’s going to work on with [the Department of Transportation], but also talk about in his budget,” Spicer said. “You’ll see more in his joint address to Congress.”

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Thursday
Jan192017

Most Americans don’t want new tolls to pay for road and bridge improvements, poll says

The Washington Post

January 19, 2017

A plan to pump up to $1 trillion into infrastructure by luring private investors won’t win public support if it means new tolls on existing roads and bridges, according to a new poll.

In Washington Post-ABC News poll, 66 percent of those surveyed said they oppose a plan that would grant close to $140 billion in tax credits to investors who put their money into roads, bridges and transit in return for the right to impose tolls.

While the survey question made no mention of the incoming president, prior to the election Donald J. Trump proposed giving private investors an 82 percent tax credit to put money into projects, credits that theoretically would reduce their need to profit from the investment.

Trump said his plan would lead to up to $1 trillion worth of new projects. He said the more than $137 billion cost of the tax credit would balance out because tax revenue would be recouped by taxing the wages of people put to work on the projects and from taxes paid by contractors hired to do the work.

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Wednesday
Jan042017

The Road to Better Transportation

U.S. News

January 4, 2017

The importance of transportation infrastructure for American society cannot be overstated. Our highway system, ports, airports and railroads are the arteries of the economy, moving goods, services and workers inside cities and between states.

In urban areas, public transit plays an equally important role not just for workers but for connecting all Americans to opportunities in their communities. In New York City, some 55 percent of all commuters take public transit every day. As our cities become more congested, a growing transit system can provide an alternative to driving. At the same time, our population of baby boomers will most likely rely on public transit as they age. Improvements in public transit can spur economic development and increase the capacity to move people.

Yet despite its significance, we as a nation have neglected our transportation infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 report card graded the national transportation infrastructure from a high of C+ for bridges and rail to an embarrassing D for aviation, roads, and public transit. It estimates that highway congestion costs the U.S. economy $101 billion annually and that $170 billion per year of annual investment is needed to make significant improvements. Likewise, deficiencies in our transit systems cost another $90 billion per year.

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