Leaked Trump infra plan calls for grants

The six-page document also details several measures to boost funding for transportation projects, which could pave the way for increased private sector participation.

What appears to be a six-page draft of the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan, leaked on Monday, calls for half of funding to go toward incentives for projects.

The plan broke down appropriations for infrastructure funding but did not include how much federal spending will be required. The document reserves half of appropriations for an “infrastructure incentives initiative” to boost state, local and private investment in core infrastructure using grants.

It also calls for measures to boost funding for the transportation sector, including some that may pave the way for increased private sector participation. They include allowing state governments to toll interstates and re-invest the proceeds in new infrastructure; eliminate constraints around the use of PPPs for transit projects; and reduce barriers to alternative project delivery for airports.

The news organisation Axios first reported the leaked infrastructure plan. The White House released a statement declining to comment on the document but said it “looks forward to presenting our plan in the near future”.

President Donald Trump made revitalising US infrastructure a focal point of his campaign and at one point promised to invest $1 trillion. An outline released last May said he would seek $200 billion in federal spending and encourage private investments.

The incentives initiative detailed in the leaked plan states that grants can’t exceed 20 percent of the project’s cost. The funding would apply to a range of sectors including transportation, power and water.

Funding for rural infrastructure accounts for 25 percent of appropriations and the programme is designed to incentivise states to partner local governments and the private sector to help pay for projects that may otherwise be difficult to fund. The document calls for block grants to be awarded to rural areas with fewer than 50,000 residents.

Just more than 7 percent of appropriations are to go to existing credit programmes such as TIFIA and Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing.

The leaked plan also calls for 10 percent of appropriations to go towards “innovative and transformative” projects in the transportation, water, energy and telecommunications sectors.

The use of private activity bonds is encouraged by eliminating alternative minimum taxes on the funding mechanism. This measure runs counter to the recently passed tax reform legislation, which repealed tax exemption for new advanced refunding bonds.

The leaked plan is not dated and could have been drafted before tax reform was passed. Last November, the Trump administration said it had a 70-page outline for an infrastructure plan.