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Here’s What Trump’s Mythical Infrastructure Plan Might Look Like

Here’s What Trump’s Mythical Infrastructure Plan Might Look Like

An uncertain promise to get more built with less federal money.
JAN 31, 20181:20 AM

What Donald Trump will actually do with America’s deteriorating roads and bridges is anyone’s guess. Though in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, the president called for Congress to pass a bill “generating” $1.5 trillion for new infrastructure, that doesn’t tell us much. It’s not clear how much of that money is coming from Washington and how much will be, as he put it, “leveraged.” The idea is that a small amount of federal money can inspire states and cities to either spend more of their own or find private investors to take charge of projects, or both. It sounds like a bargain for the feds: A $1.5 trillion plan for the price of a few hundred billion.

But would it work? It turns out the administration has a kind of trial underway. In August, Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao wrote to Congress to announce that her department would not be awarding any money to large FASTLANE projects. At its core, federal infrastructure funding is served up in a stew of acronyms like FASTLANE, an annual initiative created in 2015 to improve America’s freight corridors by helping to fund state and local projects. (In July 2016, for example, DOT granted $44 million in FASTLANE money to Georgia to renovate the railroads leading out of the Port of Savannah.) In a post-earmark Washington, grants like this bring big money to ports, highways, railroads, and subways. Competition is fierce: 212 projects sought FASTLANE funding in 2016, only 18 received it... FULL ARTICLE

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