President Donald Trump’s recently released budget for the 2018 fiscal year includes a $200 billion infusion into transportation projects over the next 10 years with the goal of spurring a total $1 trillion in overall infrastructure spending achieved through the new federal funding and incentives to leverage private sector investment.
White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney Monday repeated Trump’s previously stated plan that every taxpayer dollar spent on infrastructure would spur on average at least $5 at the state and local levels.
“There are ways to leverage federal spending in order to drive infrastructure programs at the state and local level that would not have taken place but for federal spending,” Mulvaney told reporters.
Some $200 billion in federal infrastructure investments are promised to leverage another $800 billion in private investment, The Associated Press reported.
According to The Hill newspaper, the transportation portion of the budget uses four key tenets: leveraging private sector investment; ensuring federal money is targeted at “transformative projects”; moving more services and “underused capital assets” to the private sector; and giving states and localities more flexibility.
The plan also hopes to speed up project delivery by reforming regulations that can slow down projects, which includes streamlining the current environmental review and permitting process.
Also included is the expansion of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program to $1 billion yearly and expanding eligibility; reducing tolling restrictions on existing interstate highways; allowing private investors to construct and maintain rest stops; explore innovative ways to reduce traffic; and lifting a $15 billion cap on Private Activity Bonds.
The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) was quick to respond, with IBITTA Executive Director and CEO Patrick Jones saying the federal government should take it one step further and allow states to toll their interstate highways “specifically to rebuild them,” stated IBITTA in a news release.