To say the Trump Administration’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan is long-awaited would be an understatement.
It is expected that the White House will release details about its infrastructure plan around the time of the President’s January 30th State of the Union address.
Trump administration officials have described a plan that would involve $200 billion of direct federal spending over a decade, combined with $800 billion that would come from private and state and local government sources. They have also indicated that removing barriers from the federal permitting and approval processes for projects will be a part of its program. However, since no one has seen the plan, this is mere speculation at this point.
Leaders from state DOTs sounded off at a Transportation Research Board meeting this week, discussing the need for definite and reliable revenue streams for any plan to be successful. There was significant consensus that sustainability and states’ actions to increase revenues needed to be taken into consideration. One of the chief concerns for state DOT executives is replenishing and sustaining the Highway Trust Fund which provides states with funding assistance from revenue collected from federal fuel taxes. However, because the fund has seen decline in recent years general fund monies have been used to offset and help maintain its solvency.
Does that mean that a federal fuel tax could be on the table? It has been reported that Trump has not ruled out calling for an increase in federal fuel taxes; however, increasing fuel taxes remains politically tenuous and Republican lawmakers have said they do not have the support for an increase to become law. A federal fuel tax increase is one of many ideas that has been floated and only time will tell if President Trump’s infrastructure plan will contain enough components to (1) successfully fund a $1 trillion plan; and (2) garner support from both Republicans and Democrats.
All eyes will be on Washington as the Trump administration and lawmakers try to secure an infrastructure deal.