Trump unveils $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan

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Washington: US President Donald Trump today unveiled a massive $1.5 trillion plan to modernise America’s infrastructure including $200 billion in federal funding.

Describing it as a most comprehensive infrastructure bill in the history of the US, Trump said the plan addresses more than traditional infrastructure – like roads, bridges and airports – such as drinking and wastewater systems, waterways, water resources, energy, rural infrastructure, public lands, veterans’ hospitals and Brownfield and Superfund sites.

“To help build a better future for all Americans, I ask the Congress to act soon on an infrastructure bill that will: stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in new investment over the next 10 years, shorten the process for approving projects to two years or less, address unmet rural infrastructure needs, empower State and local authorities and train the American workforce of the future,” Trump said in a message to the Congress.

“The reforms set forth in my plan will strengthen the economy, make our country more competitive, reduce the costs of goods and services for American families and enable Americans to build their lives on top of the best infrastructure in the world,” Trump said.

According to the plan, new investments will be made in rural America which has been left behind for too long, the decision-making authority will be returned to State and local governments, regulatory barriers that needlessly get in the way of infrastructure projects will be removed, permitting for infrastructure projects will be streamlined and shortened.

Noting that $200 billion in Federal funds will spur at least $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure investments, the White House said federal infrastructure spending will promote State, local and private investments and maximise the value of every taxpayer dollar.

According to the White House, $50 billion of the $200 billion in direct Federal funding will be devoted to a new Rural Infrastructure Programme to rebuild and modernise infrastructure in rural America.

“The bulk of the dollars in the Rural Infrastructure Programme will be allocated to State governors, giving States the flexibility to prioritise their communities’ needs. The remaining funds will be distributed through rural performance grants to encourage the best use of taxpayer dollars,” the White House said.

Working with Congress, the White House said that the administration will establish a “one agency, one decision” structure for environmental reviews, shorten the lengthy environmental review process to two years while still protecting the environment, eliminate certain redundant and inefficient provisions in environmental laws and create two new pilot programmes to test new ways to improve the environmental review process.

PTI