UPDATE, Dec. 11 — The Trump administration is poised to unveil its long-awaited infrastructure plan in January, according to The Wall Street Journal. White House advisers are reportedly wrapping up a building program that would see a minimum of $200 billion in federal dollars put toward the nation's roads and bridges, with a goal of generating hundreds of billions more from local governments and private investors for U.S. road, rail, water and utility work.
UPDATE, Nov. 21 — President Donald Trump said Monday that he will reveal his plan for a $1 trillion infrastructure package after Congress passes tax reform legislation, The Hill reported. The House passed its tax bill Thursday, but lawmakers aim to pass a Senate bill and negotiate a final deal by Christmas.
- The Trump administration and select members of Congress have reportedly started working on what will eventually become the president's much-anticipated infrastructure bill, The Hill reported.
- Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on highways and transit, said passage of tax reform legislation is a priority, and once that is achieved, infrastructure is next in line. The House passed its tax reform measure Thursday, and lawmakers hope they can get a Senate bill worked out quickly enough to wrap up a final deal by Christmas.
- A separate White House official said the administration had a 70-page policy document that would serve as the guide for the infrastructure legislation, but specifics of the plan have yet to be revealed.
This is the closest lawmakers have come to addressing the $1 trillion infrastructure pledge the president first made during his campaign. While Congress and the administration have grappled with stalled healthcare and tax reform bills, infrastructure had been largely pushed to the back burner. During that time, the president indicated that he was shifting away from a private investment model, though he had long been touting the benefits of public-private partnerships since before he took office.
Publicly held construction industry-related businesses saw their stocks soar immediately after the election in a so-called "Trump bump" backed by Trump's pro-business rhetoric and the promise of such a massive infrastructure initiative. An AECOM-led Build America Investment Initiative study found that just 40 U.S. infrastructure and public works projects of $330 billion could pay off in net economic benefits to the tune of $500 billion to $1.1 trillion.
Still, even with a plan in place, funding is bound to get tied up along partisan lines. While Democrats favor direct government spending, Republicans have vowed to block any legislation that uses federal dollars as its basis. The Trump administration has said that it is open to a wide variety of funding possibilities, with its latest consideration pointing to a seven-cent hike in the federal gas tax. That increase would be funneled into the Highway Trust Fund, which allocates money to states for their transportation projects.
Legislators have been hesitant to raise taxes to finance infrastructure. As much as 75% of the public, however, have reported that they wouldn't mind paying more at the pump or in tolls, according to an HNTB poll, as long as that tax meant better transportation infrastructure. More still, the number of those favoring an increase in the tax went up when that hike was paired with a legal mandate that the funds only be used on the construction and maintenance of such infrastructure.