Details of a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan that would propose funding for rural projects and streamlining the permitting process will be unveiled by President Donald Trump on Feb. 12, a White House official told Transport Topics.
The regulatory process for projects would be reduced from 10 years to two years in the outline of the highly anticipated plan, the official explained Feb. 6. No further details were provided.
The president’s announcement will coincide with the release of the White House’s fiscal 2019 funding request. At the State of the Union, Trump called on lawmakers to produce a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that would streamline the permitting process for big-ticket projects.
During the Jan. 30 address, Trump noted the construction of a New York City landmark nearly a century ago to make the case for bringing the permitting process down to two years, maybe even one year.
“We built the Empire State Building in just one year. Is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road,” Trump said.
Details released several months ago called for relying on $200 billion in federal funds as a way to incentivize private investments totaling $1 trillion over 10 years. Also, $25 billion would be provided for rural projects, and states would be given flexibility to toll on interstates.
Trump indicated infrastructure would be his top legislative priority for the year. Advisers have been championing private sector funds for infrastructure projects, as well as streamlining the permitting process. Top advisers also continue to argue Trump is a master builder equipped with requisite expertise for realizing a long-term infrastructure plan with Congress.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is key to the plan’s success, is scheduled to deliver keynote remarks Feb. 28 at the annual conference in Washington of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
Top transportation Democrats, meanwhile, have criticized calls for linking a large portion of the plan with private investments. Last year, Republican leaders ignored Democrats’ $1 trillion infrastructure pitch, which lacked clear funding guidelines.
Trump had promised to unveil his infrastructure plan during his first 100 days in office. The White House postponed its release on several occasions.