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President Unveils Infrastructure Improvement Plan

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President Donald Trump released his long-awaited plan to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and airports. Bloomberg says it may be a tough sell in Congress. Democrats say it falls short and Republicans are said to be wary of another large spending measure. The 53-page document shows how Trump plans to stimulate $1.5 trillion in new investments. It also looks to shorten project permitting time to two years, invest in rural projects, and improve worker training.

Many of the main points in the plan have been known for some time. There were some new elements in the proposal, including expanding the use of private-activity bonds to finance projects. That would extend the use of tax-exempt debt by private entities and broaden the number of projects the bonds could be used for. Other proposals include letting states add tolls on interstates, as well as fostering public-private partnerships in transit projects. The plan also proposes streamlining legally required environmental analysis for public projects. Under the plan, regulators would have more latitude in waiving required environmental reviews.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue applauded the infrastructure plan laid out by President Trump, specifically for its emphasis on investment in rural America. The plan calls for 25 percent of new federal funds to be dedicated to rural infrastructure needs, as prioritized by state and local leaders. Perdue says Trump has made it a priority to address the nation’s infrastructure since the day he took office and has now followed through on that commitment. “No other area of the country needs investment in infrastructure more than rural America,” he says. “With a quarter of new federal money going to rural parts of the country, states will have the ability to expand broadband access, increase connectivity, rebuild roads, and supply affordable utilities.”

Perdue also says it’s important to remember that states get the flexibility to choose the projects that best meet their needs. “I’ve heard directly from people in the Heartland that this is just the type of investment they’re looking for to help create jobs, improve education, improve the quality of life, and increase overall prosperity.”.

Source: NAFB News Service