Febrero 19, 2018

Trump budget priorities include infrastructure, border security

12 Febrero 2018, 03:45 | Crisanna Felipe

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For a White House often accused of being divisive, President Trump may yet bring warring parties together on a major initiative that few voters will oppose.

The administration's plan is centered on using $200 billion in federal money to leverage local and state tax dollars to fix America's infrastructure, such as roads, highways, ports and airports. The White House hasn't been too forthcoming with details about what existing appropriations may be cut to pay for it-or if the the spending is entirely new. State governments would be in charge because the funding would come from block grants to the states "to allow governors to select what the priorities for infrastructure are in their respective states".

Trump will highlight that proposal Monday in a meeting at the White House with state and local officials.

Altogether, the official said the $1.5 trillion prediction is based on "state and local governments - how will they likely respond to this program". "They can sell bonds, use public private partnerships, create user fees, etc". But we don't have timely access to them.

The White House official said relying more heavily on state and local governments to fund their own infrastructure improvements would help make that funding more "sustainable". But the fund would match investments only up to $0.20 on the dollar at the maximum level of federal investment.

Trump has shown "his willingness to discuss this project" and hopes "to find a fiscally responsible path forward", a senior administration official said.

"The way that we get to $1.5 trillion is we could be putting 10 percent or 20 percent in terms of the cost of that project". White House officials admitted they had fumbled the situation while insisting their mistake was merely in misjudging the character of a man they thought they knew. Even after accounting for the $3 trillion in cuts they will offer, the White House is expected to project the economy will grow at a much stronger clip than many economists believe will occur. Half of the funding, $100 billion, will be used as incentives to entice cities, counties and states to raise at least 80 percent of the infrastructure costs themselves.

Administration officials have spent weeks talking about the infrastructure plan and trying to get some ideas and consensus from lawmakers on Capitol Hill and industry groups.

The official said the default mindset for how to fund infrastructure projects needs to shift.

⦁ Stimulate $1.5 trillion of new investment in infrastructure.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, unveiled an outline of the president's budget agenda on Sunday night, saying in a statement the budget will "fund what we must" and "cut where we can".

The White House is putting focus this year on Trump's long-overdue plan to boost spending on the nation's crumbling infrastructure.

The original plan was for Trump's new budget to slash domestic agencies even further than last year's proposal, but instead it will land in Congress three days after he signed a two-year spending agreement that wholly rewrites both last year's budget and the one to be released Monday. The current permitting structure is overly concerned with preventing litigation and not enough on outcomes, the official said.

The second important part of the plan includes reforms to the infrastructure related legislative framework.

The workforce training funding would go toward "removing obstacles and disincentives for people who don't want to go to a four-year college, and prefer to move in some type of trade, by expanding Pell eligibility, changing the license requirements, and adding more flexibility".

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