Senate Democrats Announce Infrastructure Plan, While Trump Team Supposedly Compiles Infrastructure Priority List
Posted @ Thursday, January 26, 2017 By Zach Israel
Posted in [ Blog, Water and Natural Resources, Transportation ] | 0 Comments
On January 24, 2017 Senate Democrats’ unveiled their “Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure,” a 10-year, $1 trillion proposal to “rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and create 15 million middle-class jobs.” An 11-page summary of the proposal is available here. According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), President Trump “seems open to a bill that’s this large” after some discussion with congressional leaders at the White House this past Monday. According to Sen. Schumer, the plan consists of:
- $210 billion for roads and bridges, including expanding the TIGER grant program to $10 billion and leveraging money at local main streets.
- $200 billion for “vital infrastructure projects [VIPs].”
- $180 billion for rail and bus systems.
- $110 billion for a new water and sewer program.
- $100 billion for energy modernization, including updates to the power grid.
- $75 billion for rebuilding and repairing schools.
- $70 billion for ports, airports and waterways.
- $20 billion to expand high-speed broadband.
- $20 billion for public and Indian land renewal.
- $10 billion for new Veterans Health Administration hospitals, extended care facilities and upgrades at the Army National Guard Readiness Centers.
- $10 billion for an Infrastructure Bank to bring in private money.
Also on Jan. 24., a document leaked out listing 50 infrastructure projects compiled and shared by President Donald Trump’s transition team, and put together by a Washington-based consulting firm. On Jan. 25, the White House said that the document was not an “official” White House document and former transition official Brigham McCown was quoted as calling the document a fake. However, the office of Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, and two organizations, CG/LA Infrastructure and the National Governors Association, responded by saying that the document was indeed real and that it came from the Trump transition team. Nonetheless, the list totals at least $137.5 billion, according to McClatchy's Kansas City Star and The News Tribune. The preliminary list offers a first glimpse at which projects around the country might get funding if Trump follows through on his campaign promise to renew America's crumbling highways, airports, dams and bridges. The NGA shared that list with state officials in December. The group told the officials the projects on that list were “already being vetted.”
President Trump also signed an Executive Order on Jan. 24, entitled “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects.” Under the Order, “With respect to infrastructure projects for which Federal reviews and approvals are required, upon request by the Governor of a State, or the head of any executive department or agency (agency), or on his or her own initiative, the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) shall, within 30 days after a request is made, decide whether an infrastructure project qualifies as a ‘high priority’ infrastructure project. This determination shall be made after consideration of the project's importance to the general welfare, value to the Nation, environmental benefits, and such other factors as the Chairman deems relevant.”