Leaked draft outlines Trump infrastructure plan
A draft version of the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan leaked on Monday.
A document obtained by The Hill reveals the details of a plan to revitalize America’s roads, bridges and transit systems by pushing for improvements to water infrastructure, transportation, land revitalization and Veteran’s Affairs facilities.
The White House said it would not comment on the substance of a leaked document, but that it looks “forward to presenting our plan in the near future.”
The six-page document, which was first reported by Axios, suggests that half of appropriations go toward an “Infrastructure Incentives Initiative” to promote private and local investment in projects through grants.
A quarter of the appropriations, according to the document, would be for a “Rural Infrastructure Program” to bolster investment in rural areas.
Ten percent of appropriations would go toward a “Transformative Projects Program” that would fall under the Commerce Department. That program would provide “federal funding and technical assistance” to projects that cannot obtain private funding.
Just more than 7 percent of the appropriations would be devoted to expanding federal lending programs to grow investments. Another five percent would be to establish a “revolving fund” to finance “purchases of federally owned civilian real property.”
It’s unclear how close officials are to finalizing the details of a long-awaited plan, which could slip to next month.
The draft also points to the potential for a fight between the administration and Congress over tolls, a subject lawmakers have been wary of broaching. The leaked memo says states should be awarded the “flexibility” to collect interstate tolls and to utilize toll revenues for infrastructure.
Another proposal included in the leaked memo is the expansion of private activity bonds, a common tool used to finance infrastructure projects. The draft suggests allowing entities to issue advance refunding bonds to refinance private activity bonds. But including this in an infrastructure plan would put the package at odds with the recent GOP overhaul of the tax code, which repealed the tax exemption for new advance refunding bonds. The House tax bill proposed eliminating private activity bonds, but the final bill retained the financing tool.
It’s possible that the leaked draft predates the passage of the tax law. The document is not dated, and the White House has been working on an infrastructure plan for months.
A White House official last year said the administration had a 70-page memo for infrastructure that would serve as a building block for lawmakers working to draft a package.
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers earlier this month released their own report detailing policy suggestions for an infrastructure package.
Some business leaders have floated a gas tax increase to fund the struggling Highway Trust Fund, which provides financing to build roads, a proposal the White House said last year it was considering.
Naomi Jagoda contributed to this report.