By Judson Berger, Fox News
President Trump is calling to pump $1.5 trillion into fixing America’s infrastructure while streamlining the often-cumbersome permitting process, as part of a $4 trillion-plus budget plan unveiled Monday.
“World-class infrastructure is possible for the American people,” Trump said in his budget message to Congress.
In the runup to the release, the president also tweeted: “This will be a big week for Infrastructure. After so stupidly spending $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is now time to start investing in OUR Country!”
This will be a big week for Infrastructure. After so stupidly spending $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is now time to start investing in OUR Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2018
Unlike last year’s plan, the fiscal 2019 blueprint does not seek to balance the budget over the next decade. Combined with a newly passed spending deal and sweeping tax cuts, the budget would see the federal deficit once again rising past $1 trillion in the near-term.
The infrastructure component, however, would not necessarily be a huge driver of Washington’s red ink.
Under the plan, $200 billion of the $1.5 trillion in proposed spending would be federal dollars, which a senior administration official said would come from “reductions in other areas of the budget.” The plan calls on state and local governments and the private sector to put up most of the funding. The federal funding would be used to match local spending, provide “incentives” and expand loan programs.
The plan also would boost investment for projects in rural America — including transportation, broadband, water, waste, power, flood management and ports — by $50 billion in a bid to address criticism from some Republican senators that the Trump administration’s initial emphasis on public-private partnerships would do little to help those areas.
But the Trump administration is casting another part of the plan as equally vital – streamlining the permitting process, which a senior administration official described as “fundamentally broken.”
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