Still Searching for a Path Forward on Infrastructure.

Author:Thomas, Michael
Position:Federal Focus

The White House infrastructure proposal describes how resources will be used to rehabilitate America's deteriorating roads and bridges.

In February 2018, the White House released two much-anticipated proposals to outline major priorities of the Trump Administration, the "Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America" and the 2019 budget proposal, "Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget." Although the issuance of proposals like these often kick off of the legislative process, they also offer insight as to how the Trump administration would prefer Congress to steer its efforts. The infrastructure proposal describes how resources will be used to rehabilitate America's deteriorating roads and bridges. The president's infrastructure proposal listed concrete figures for how much money should be allocated to each section of the plan but did not offer any information on how funding would be secured. The 2019 budget, like the one the year before, describes where the needed funds will come from. The White House made clear that it would not be pursuing any new revenue streams to secure funding on its own. This gave Congress plenty to think about as it worked toward its own spending package to finish the fiscal year.

Congressional lawmakers spent six weeks working to reconcile the president's budget, which aspired to reduce spending by more than $3 trillion over the next 10 years, with an infrastructure proposal that hoped to generate $1.5 trillion in spending over the same time frame. But much like previous presidential budget proposals, there was little expectation that Congress would sign the president's budget blueprint into law. Federal lawmakers generally relish the authority they have over the nation's purse strings, and after consideration, lawmakers produced a spending bill that the president was reluctant to sign since it increased discretionary spending levels and avoided cuts proposed by the White House.


Before the administration released its 2019 budget, anticipation was already building for the infrastructure proposal that began to materialize shortly after Trump entered the Oval Office. The proposal that was released relied heavily on attracting private investors and participation from state and local governments. It depended on an injection of $200 billion from federal programs to stimulate $1.5 trillion in overall investment toward the national infrastructure...

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