May 28, 2018

Trump budget plan already outdated after budget deal

12 February 2018, 11:02 | Taylor George

Trump budget plan already outdated after budget deal

Trump budget plan already outdated after budget deal

President Donald Trump on Monday is to roll out his long-awaited infrastructure plan that could make it more hard to attract the federal funding being counted on for the Gateway Tunnel project.

The White House argues that funding is only one component of the president's infrastructure plan.

Trump on Friday signed a bipartisan $400 billion spending bill that will benefit the military and generate "jobs, jobs, jobs", but that could also create a projected deficit of $1.2 trillion in 2019 and higher in the coming years.

And he said if local governments do engage in the Trump plan, it could result in an even heavier tax burden on residents in NY and other high-tax states where many taxpayers likely will pay more federal taxes because they can deduct only $10,000 in state and local taxes from their federal returns.

But the proposal faced skepticism from some Republicans and most Democrats, and was never endorsed by the full House.

Virtually 100 per cent of major infrastructure in the United States requires some form of federal permissions, officials told reporters. The administration also says it will eliminate bureaucratic roadblocks to completing projects that can tie up new roads for years. Another $20 billion will go to "transformative programs", or infrastructure projects rooted in promoting new or innovative ideas. Fifty billion will be directed towards improvements exclusively in rural infrastructure in the form of block grants to state governors, allowing them to select what projects to direct the funding towards.

The largest single piece of the White House plan is a proposed $100 billion that would be made available to states and municipalities in the form of matching funds for infrastructure projects, according to White House officials who spoke to the press on background over the weekend.

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Last month, Transportation for America issued a statement that said, in part, "We want new projects to be selected competitively with more local control, spurred by innovation and creativity".

The White House maintains that an 80 percent match is just a suggestion, not a requirement.

The White House also said its plan would call for changes aimed at widening the pipeline of skilled construction workers, such as allowing Pell Grants to be used for short-term credentials from places like community colleges and targeting federal work-study funding toward on-the-job training. "It does get us away from trillion-dollar deficits".

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has proposed hiking the federal gas tax, which hasn't gone up since 1993, to raise $394 billion over 10 years.

The official would not say where exactly the $200 billion is being cut from in other areas of the budget - though they said "there are some reductions in things like transit funding and TIGER grants, and things where the administration thinks that infrastructure funds haven't been spent efficaciously".

"I can't tell you there's going to be no cut in any infrastructure programs in the federal government", Gribbin said to the Conference of Mayors. Gribbin committed to leaving major pots of money intact, such as the Highway Trust Fund, but said that some existing spending may be "repurposed".

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