Trump to Release Infrastructure Plan in January, Official Says


President Donald Trump plans to keep pushing his legislative agenda in 2018 by releasing his long-promised infrastructure proposal in early January, a senior administration official said.

Infrastructure advocates question whether a Republican-led Congress will be able to pass a spending plan with enough federal funding if it’s already approved a tax measure that official estimates say would bloat the budget deficit. Some say the administration missed its best opportunity to deliver a meaningful public works initiative by not incorporating it into the tax bill, which is nearing approval. 

“If they’d taken up infrastructure, we’d have a bill today and have the money to fund it,” said Ray LaHood, a Republican and former transportation secretary under President Barack Obama. “Nothing happened this year, so the prospects of anything happening next year I think are pretty slim,” said LaHood, who is a co-chairman of Building America’s Future, a bipartisan coalition that promotes infrastructure.

The Russell 3000 Building Materials Index gained as much as 2.2 percent on the news and closed up 1.8 percent, as companies including Summit Materials Inc., Vulcan Materials Co. and Martin Marietta Inc. spiked sharply higher.

Trump Promised

Trump promised during his campaign to introduce a $1 trillion proposal within his first 100 days in office, then the administration said there’d be a plan by the third quarter. That didn’t happen after the failed attempt to overhaul health care and the ongoing tax effort.

The president aims to release a detailed document of principles, rather than a drafted bill, for upgrading roads, bridges, airports and other public works before the Jan. 30 State of the Union address, said the administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details aren’t public. Naysayers should wait until they see the details and how the legislative process unfolds, the official said.

The White House plan is essentially complete and Trump recently reviewed it, the official said. It calls for allocating at least $200 billion in federal funds over 10 years to spur at least $800 billion in spending by states, localities and the private sector.

The plan would put the federal dollars in four areas: cash for states and localities, with preference for entities that generate their own funding as well; formula block grants for rural areas; federal lending programs; and money for “transformational” work such as plans to build high-speed trains in tunnels by Boring Co., which was founded by Elon Musk.

Shift Responsibility

The guiding principle of the plan is to shift responsibility for funding from the federal government to states and localities — which own or control most assets — by providing incentives for them to generate their own sustainable funding sources and work with the private sector.

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