A White House official said Saturday Trump is open to discussing a federal funding plan to help pay for the $30 billion in Gateway transit projects, which include a $13 billion Hudson River tunnel between NY and New Jersey, but he won't OK paying for half the costs.
The proposal echoes one made in 2015 by a nonprofit group called Common Good, which recommended limiting litigation around infrastructure permitting - one of the main reasons approvals get delayed - and putting one person in charge of environmental review.
He said the plan would include $3 billion for the barrier and a contingency for $25 billion over two years if Congress approves legislation to shield "Dreamers", immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents, from deportation.
Michael Pagano, dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of IL at Chicago, said the Trump administration attempt to leverage local government funds for infrastructure may not work because municipalities don't have the money. 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.
The US$1.5 trillion will come from a range of incentives and instruments in which government funding will play a lesser role than they do now, instead being used to match and leverage local funding.
"I do have doubts that it's going to generate the infrastructure investment with local funds", said Pagano, citing his annual survey, which found last summer that municipal general funds still haven't rebounded to their 2006 level before the Great Recession hit. A senior administration official said the fund would help pay for projects that may already be in the works. "So you don't have to spend all that", he said.
Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un impersonators thrown out of Olympics
At every opportunity, the VP will point out the reality of the oppression in North Korea by a regime that has enslaved its people. A South Korean government official said tens of thousands of people participated or watched the parade that morning in Pyongyang.
But irate conservatives pointed to projections that the increased spending puts the government on track to hit a $1.2 trillion deficit in 2019 and to record trillion-dollar-plus deficits far into the future.
"We have a permitting process that takes so long that even when funds are adequate, it can take a decade to build critical infrastructure", a senior official noted.
But even an investment of $1.5 trillion towards infrastructure over the next decade won't be almost enough to keep pace with the needed repairs.
The plan would also increase workforce participation by extending Pell Grant eligibility to workers who want to receive technical training and lowering standards for professional licensing requirements and eligibility.