Trump to map out infrastructure ideas in address to Congress
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.”
Trump’s speech could offer the first real glimpse into his infrastructure plans since taking office in January. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a legislative proposal is soon to follow.
Axios reported on Thursday that the administration and Republican leaders are considering punting on an infrastructure package until 2018, in an effort to give Congress more breathing room to address other GOP priorities this year.
One of Trump’s chief campaign promises was to upgrade the nation’s ailing infrastructure, but he has yet to sketch out a bill in any detail.
And GOP lawmakers have acknowledged that the contours of the plan aren’t likely to take shape until after Trump’s first 100 days in office, despite his pledge to deliver a proposal to Congress within his first 100 days as president.
So far, the only hints about how the administration intends to tackle the issue have come from a white paper that was floated on the campaign trail. That blueprint would offer $137 billion in federal tax credits to private companies that back transportation projects.
Rural Republicans, Democrats and other critics have warned that the private financing model would only benefit projects that can recoup their investment costs through toll ways or user fees, and have called for any rebuilding plan to also include direct federal investments for infrastructure.
Spicer said Thursday that public-private partnerships “will be the cornerstone of a robust plan to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.”
He also said Trump wants to streamline the permitting process that can slow down transportation projects as they try to get off the ground.
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