By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will outline his much-anticipated infrastructure plan in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, but details will not be unveiled until mid-February, an administration official briefed on the plan said on Monday.
The Trump administration’s $200 billion infrastructure plan will leverage new federal money to try and boost overall investment over the next 10 years.
The Republican president disclosed last week the proposal “will actually probably end up being about $1.7 trillion.” That is up from the initial Trump promise that a mix of federal and local investment would result in at least $1 trillion in infrastructure spending.
A White House spokeswoman declined to comment Monday on the timing of the infrastructure proposal. On Friday, White House official D.J. Gribbin confirmed in remarks to mayors the administration will not seek new revenue to pay for infrastructure, but rather seek to pay for it with spending cuts. He said a proposal was expected a week or two after the State of the Union.
The administration is expected to ask Congress for $200 billion in federal spending, which in turn would encourage a big jump in state, local and private financing to build and repair bridges, highways, waterworks and other infrastructure.
The proposal will also aim to streamline environmental reviews and it make it easier to build highways and other projects and allow for greater tolling on roadways.
Scott Slesinger, legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Congress Monday “the poor state of our infrastructure is not because of environmental reviews or permitting. Our problem is cash. The solution is the political will to appropriate the needed dollars.”
Reuters reported this month that the administration’s plan involved $100 billion in cost-sharing payments for urban projects and $50 billion for rural projects, with the remaining $50 billion largely split among “transformative” projects such as high-speed trains, and funds for federal transportation lending projects.
A leaked document released last week, which an administration official confirmed was “largely accurate,” shows the administration plans to reduce federal cost-sharing for projects to no more than 20 percent of the costs from the traditional 80 percent share.
Democrats want the Trump administration to agree to significant new spending to pay for infrastructure upgrades and have called the smaller cost sharing proposal a non-starter.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Sanders and Tom Brown)