Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Will Favor States, Localities With Money Lined Up, Chao Says

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao also said Monday that the White House would soon release new details about the proposal.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao indicated Monday that state and local governments with money lined up for projects would be best positioned to reap federal dollars under President Trump’s promised infrastructure program.

According to Route Fifty,

“States and localities that have secured some funding or financing of their own for infrastructure projects will be given higher priority access to new federal funds,” Chao said at an event sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

She added that the administration intends to share its “vision of what the infrastructure plan will look like in the next several weeks.”

A document that outlines broad ideas and principles for the proposal, which the secretary seemed to be describing, would serve as only an initial step in the process to get infrastructure investment legislation drafted and moving through Congress.

Later in the day, at a separate event in Washington held by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships, there was skepticism the White House infrastructure proposal would get much traction in the months ahead.

“You don’t see a center of gravity for infrastructure in the White House,” said Norman Anderson, president and CEO of CG/LA Infrastructure, Inc., a consulting firm that helped to develop a list of possible infrastructure projects for the Trump administration to consider prioritizing.

“It doesn’t seem as if they’ve identified who is in charge of this thing,” Anderson also said, speaking during a panel discussion.

Chao said the administration’s proposal will call for $200 billion in direct federal funding, which would be used to “leverage” $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over the next decade.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney publicly shared the $200 billion figure last month.

“A few special projects” that are “not candidates for private investment” but that could boost the nation’s economy or “lift the American spirit” would likely be identified and funded directly by the federal government under Trump’s plan as well, according to Chao.

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