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Trump infrastructure plan: Spur investment, cut permitting, improve training

Sources: National Stone Sand & Gravel Association, Alexandria, Va.; National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.; CP staff

President Donald Trump's formal infrastructure proposal hinges on four basic principals: stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending through a 10-year, $200-billion federal commitment; shorten project permitting windows; invest in rural transportation, environmental and related public works; and, improve training to attract qualified workers to the trades.

The White House's 53-page "Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America" is an opening bid to further House of Representatives and Senate negotiations on how to meet administration objectives and address financing measures, much like the reform-driven Tax Cuts & Jobs Act signed in late 2017. At least six House and five Senate committees will consider "Rebuilding Infrastructure" elements.

"It's a welcomed and necessary way to start a very overdue conversation. We look forward to more in-depth conversations with Congress [and] urge lawmakers to create a robust and long-term solution to our country's chronically underfunded infrastructure," says NSSGA CEO Michael Johnson. "To meet the president's goal, NSSGA supports a wide variety of funding options, especially shoring up the Highway Trust Fund."

The White House plan calls for a) $100 billion in grants to be distributed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency; b) $50 billion in rural project grants; and, c) $20 billion for transformative projects that could spawn public-private partnerships. Project sponsors, states and agencies would request funds for specific needs. Concurrent with the plan, White House is drafting a memo to 17 federal agencies seeking to speed up the time it takes to secure infrastructure project environmental permits.

“The president’s plan to rebuild America with American heart, hands and grit is a strong step forward in combatting decades of neglect and decay,” affirms NRMCA President Robert Garbini. “For too long, the pathways that have knitted this great nation together have crumbled before our eyes as our leaders, bogged down by other issues they deemed more important, sat on their hands. But the time has come where passing the buck to the next generation is no longer an option—we must act now.”