Trump dubs November Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month
- President Donald Trump has declared November 2017 to be Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, according to the The White House. The proclamation, however, contains no details or mention of his $1 trillion infrastructure plan.
- In his proclamation, the president said his administration is wanted to stress the importance of making critical infrastructure — the systems necessary for the country's physical and economic security, as well as its public health — more resilient. Trump used this year's series of natural disasters to frame the necessity of putting more resources into the assets he said promote national security.
- The proclamation follows former President Barack Obama's own announcement of the month in 2013 and in November of the years following.
The proclamation comes as the administration's second attempt this year to put the importance of infrastructure in the national spotlight.
The first, dubbed "infrastructure week," came in June, and quickly drew criticism from those chastising the president's lack of clarity during his infrastructure-related speeches. The week also failed to bring out any more details about Trump's proposed infrastructure plan — a pattern that, so far, has continued through to this month's announcement.
In his 2018 budget request, Trump proposed funneling $200 billion of federal funds into highways, bridges and other physical assets in order to drive $1 trillion of private-sector investment. Those plans, however, might have fallen by the wayside. In September, the president walked back his long-touted sport of public-private partnerships, calling the delivery method "more trouble than they're worth."
While the president may no longer be set on supporting public infrastructure with private spending, the GOP could force him to reconsider. The party, which has resisted any further accumulation of debt, has pushed back against bankrolling the initiative with taxpayer money,
Additional taxes have also been floated as a way to fund the big infrastructure fix. And according to one of the president's economic advisers, the administration could be getting ready to unveil a 7-cent hike in the federal gas tax. That tax, unchanged since 1993, feeds into the Highway Trust Fund — a well that doles out money to states to help them fund their surface transportation projects. That trust, however, is set to run dry in the next decade unless lawmakers can support it with a new or expanded source of revenue.
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