White House plan calls for $1.5 trillion in investments to fix nation’s infrastructure

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The White House Monday will unveil the main objectives it wants Congress to include in a legislative plan to try to tackle the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

A senior administration official told reporters Saturday that President Donald Trump will call for $200 billion in new federal funds that the administration anticipates will “stimulate $1.5 trillion in new investment in infrastructure” – with states, local governments and private partnerships expected to bear the brunt of the financial burden for achieving one of the president’s key campaign promises.

On Monday, the president is set to host a White House meeting of key Republicans and Democrats, including chairmen and ranking members from relevant committees, to discuss the way forward on infrastructure.

The infrastructure outline will feature four overarching goals, according to the White House: stimulate $1.5 trillion in new investment and infrastructure; shorten the permitting process to two years; invest in rural infrastructure; and make improvements in training the workforce that would be generated as a part of the plan.

HOW WILL THE MONEY BE ALLOCATED? On generating the $1.5 trillion in new investment out of just $200 billion in federal funds, the official said that $100 billion of the money will go towards incentives for state and local governments to use in starting up infrastructure projects. Twenty billion will go towards expanding loan programs and private activity bonds. Fifty billion will be directed towards improvements solely in rural infrastructure in the form of block grants to state governors, allowing them to select what projects to direct the funding towards. Another $20 billion will go to “transformative programs,” or infrastructure projects rooted in promoting new or innovative ideas. The final $10 billion will go towards a “capital financing fund” that will fund office-building infrastructure the federal government is already building.

Altogether, the official said the $1.5 trillion prediction is based on “state and local governments – how will they likely respond to this program.” Democrats have criticized the $200 billion in federal spending in the past as insufficient compared to the needs facing the nation’s roads, bridges and waterways.

The administration official said the plan will also seek to expand eligibility for Pell Grants and adding more flexibility to license requirements for people looking to enter some type of trade rather than a four-year college.

“So if you’re licensed to perform a trade in one part of the country, you can move to another part of the country and transfer that license,” the official said. “And then expand out the use of apprenticeships to help those that are interested in going to trades, develop their skills, and move more gradually into the workforce.”

WHERE’S THE MONEY COMING FROM? The administration official said the $200 billion in funding will be included in the president’s budget request, also out Monday, and said the administration plans to “pay for the $200 billion out of savings from other areas of the federal budget.”

The official would not say where exactly the $200 billion is being cut from in other areas of the budget – though they said “there are some reductions in things like transit funding and TIGER grants, and things where the administration thinks that infrastructure funds haven’t been spent efficaciously.”

HOW WILL THE PRESIDENT SELL IT? The administration official said to expect the president to travel in the coming weeks and months around the country to promote the infrastructure plan – along with Cabinet officials similar to how the White House sold the tax plan.

Aside from his plans to address the plan at the Monday meeting, however, the official was not any more specific with when and how often we can expect to see the president hit the road.

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