After months of waiting and deliberations, Government of Donald Trump finally announced this Sunday its infrastructure plan. The overall objective is ambitious, but contribution of federal administration is modest, away from president's grand proposals. The White House aspires to mobilize 1.5 trillion dollars in infrastructure investment in coming years but Washington would only provide 200 billion. The goal is for federal contribution to encourage local and state investment in renewing infrastructure network.
The poor condition of many infrastructures is one of major anomalies of world's first power. During election campaign, Republican Trump used that reality to draw a country in decline and promised to reverse it with a large stimulus plan in public works, as on roads or airports. His proposal was more akin to democratic idea, which favors expansion of public spending, than Republican. Indeed, its predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama, aspired to renew American infrastructure, for example by promoting high-speed rail connections, but collided with Congress's reluctance.
Now White House aspires to achieve a bipartite agreement, which will certainly be complicated given estrangement between Trump and Democrats. The 200 billion request is included in federal budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 that Trump will send on Monday to Congress, where Republicans hold majority. That amount will be offset by cut in or items, he explained, without going into details, a senior administration charge in a conference call with journalists.
"The current system is fundamentally broken," said high office. "We are investing below what we owe in our infrastructures and we have a permit system that takes too long. Even when you have funds, it can take a decade to build a major infrastructure. "
The goal of White House is for local and regional governments to take lead. A mechanism will be created whereby federal administration could match initial investment of a state in a public work, so that amount of funds would be duplicated. Infrastructure renovations in rural areas are also expected to be boosted.
Apart from economic details, or pillar of proposal is to significantly reduce bidding process and construction of a public work so that it cannot exceed two years. That would be done at expense of environmental analysis process. The White House aspires to fewer federal agencies to participate in various phases of approval of a project and to be more delegated to regional governments, which will no doubt fuel fear of political and environmental groups on risk of lowering Standards of protection.