Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Allows State and Local Governments to Make Decisions, Reduces Red Tape

By Melanie Arter | February 12, 2018 | 12:32 PM EST

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(CNSNews.com) – The White House unveiled President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan Monday which includes six principles to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

The plan calls for $200 billion in federal funds to spur at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments with state, local, tribal and private level partners. It also calls for new investments in rural America, “which has been left behind for too long.”

Under the plan, decision-making authority will be returned to state and local governments. Also, regulatory barriers that get in the way of infrastructure projects will be removed.

It will also streamline and shorten the permitting process for infrastructure projects, and finally, “America’s workforce will be supported and strengthened.”

In order to streamline the permitting process, the White House will work with Congress to “establish a ‘one agency, one decision’ structure for environmental reviews.” It will shorten the environmental review process to two years “while still protecting the environment.”

Also, the administration plans to eliminate “redundant and inefficient provisions in environmental laws.” Furthermore, it will “create two new pilot programs to test new ways to improve the environmental review process.”

Of the $200 billion of federal funds to spur infrastructure investments, “$100 billion will create an Incentives Program to spur additional funds from states, localities, and the private sector.”

Meanwhile, $20 billion will be dedicated to the Transformative Projects Program, which will provide “federal aid for bold and innovative projects that have the potential to dramatically improve America’s infrastructure. It will “focus on projects that could have a significant positive impact on States, cities, and localities but may not attract private sector investment because of the project’s unique characteristics.”

Another $20 billion will go toward “expanding infrastructure financing programs,” while “$10 billion will go to a new Federal Capital Revolving Fund” to reduce inefficient leasing of Federal real property which would be more cost-effective to purchase.”

The plan will eliminate regulatory barriers by providing “more flexibility to transportation projects that have minimal Federal funding but are currently required to seek Federal review and approval.” It will “incentivize the efficient development and management of water infrastructure, in part, by providing more flexibility to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its partners.”

Also, it gives “the Department of Veterans Affairs the flexibility to use its existing assets to acquire new facilities by allowing it to retain property sale proceeds and exchange existing facilities for construction of new facilities.”

And it expands “funding eligibility for land revitalization projects through the Superfund program” and establishes “tools to help manage their legal and financial matters.”

The infrastructure plan also calls for reforming federal education and workforce development programs so Americans are better prepared for in demand jobs. The plan calls for “making high-quality, short-term programs that provide students with a certification or credential in an in-demand field eligible for Pell Grants.”

It would also reform the Perkins Career and Technical Education Program to give more students “access to high-quality technical education to develop the skills required in today’s economy.” It also calls for “better targeting Federal Work-Study funds to help more students obtain important workplace experience, including through apprenticeships.”

 


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