The administration released its American Infrastructure Initiative today, a list of legislative goals to rebuild U.S. infrastructure.
The goals include stimulating at least $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure investments from state and local tax dollars and private investors, by investing $200 billion in federal funds.
“For too long, lawmakers have invested in infrastructure inefficiently, ignored critical needs, and allowed it to deteriorate. As a result, the United States has fallen further and further behind other countries. It is time to give Americans the working, modern infrastructure they deserve,” says a letter from the White House to Congress.
The proposal to improve and rebuild the country’s aging public works, which includes airports, could also come with streamlined and shortened permitting for infrastructure projects and fewer regulatory barriers, moves that Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) CEO Stephen Sandherr has advocated.
“The President has outlined a needed and thought-provoking proposal to rebuild and improve the nation’s aging and over-burdened public infrastructure. The details of this proposal are important and many, including this association, will seek changes to further improve upon the President’s concept,” says Sandherr. “Yet the most significant aspect of today’s release is that it signals the start of what should be a timely, bipartisan and bicameral process to identify the best ways to fund and finance desperately needed improvements to our public infrastructure. This process should build on the many positive aspects of the President’s infrastructure proposal. These include increasing direct federal funding for public works by at least $200 billion over the next ten years; making improvements to the federal permitting process that maintain strong environmental protections while significantly accelerating project reviews; and finding innovative new ways to use federal funds to leverage additional state, local and private-sector funding for infrastructure.”
Of the $200 billion in federal funds planned to be invested into infrastructure, $100 billion would create an incentives program to spur additional state, local and private funds.
“The incentives program will promote accountability, making federal funding conditional on projects meeting agreed-upon milestones,” says a White House statement.
Trump proposes to work with Congress to establish a “one agency, one decision” structure for environmental reviews, shorten the environmental review process to two years while still protecting the environment, eliminate redundant and inefficient provisions in environmental laws; and create two new pilot programs to test ways to improve the environmental review process.
Major goals for airport infrastructure is to “create more efficient federal aviation administration oversight of non-aviation development activities” and “clarify authority for incentive payments under the Airport Improvement Program.”
AGC plans to stay involved in the infrastructure improvement process.
“Moving forward, this association will work vigorously to ensure Congress passes a significant, new, long-term infrastructure funding package as quickly as possible. Our goal will be to make sure every member of Congress appreciates that our economy will not be able to grow if we continue to allow our infrastructure to deteriorate,” says Sandherr.