2018 Trump Budget and Infrastructure Plan
The Trump administration recently laid out its long-awaited vision for a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.
As expected, the plan targets $200 billion in direct federal spending over the next ten years on infrastructure needs such as roads, bridges, tunnels, railroads and expanded broadband. According to the administration, the $200 billion along with incentivized non-federal funding will result in $1 trillion of infrastructure spending.
The rest of the 6-page factsheet, which is all that is known of the plan at this point, puts forward the administration’s key principles, ideas for streamlining the environmental review and permitting process and illustrative funding examples and other tools.
Of special interest to Wisconsin as state elected officials debate how to fund transportation are the key principles of encouraging self-help – or said another way, helping states that help themselves – and leveraging the private sector. Related to both ideas is the administration’s support for allowing states to evaluate their needs and weigh the merits of interstate tolling.
Consistent with a budget blueprint put forward in March, the administration’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal, released by the White House on May 23rd would cut USDOT discretionary spending by 13%.
The proposal would eliminate TIGER Grants, limit funding for new transit projects and end funding for Amtrak’s long-distance passenger trains outside the Northeast Corridor.
The Trump budget would also privatize air traffic control and end Essential Air Service subsidies that support commercial air service in smaller, more rural communities.
For the main highway and transit programs, the budget would hold to levels Congress authorized with the 2015 Fixing American's Surface Transportation Act, $44.234 billion in obligation authority for the highway program and $9.733 billion for transit formula grants.
However, after 2018, funding would be capped at the 2018 level instead of providing the modest annual increases the FAST Act authorized.
Beyond 2020 and the expiration of the FAST Act, the president's budget assumes that HTF outlays will be limited to trust fund receipts. This would result in an estimated 40 percent cut in obligation authority for the federal-aid highway program in 2021, and zeroing out transit formula grants through 2023.
Lawmakers from both parties in Congress have pronounced the president's budget "dead on arrival." This indicates they are likely to ignore it as they write their own funding measures.