Trump budget includes $200bn infra spending initiative

The spending plan, released Tuesday morning, would look towards the private sector for infrastructure funding and seek to expedite approval processes.

President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal, released Tuesday morning, includes $200 billion through 2026 towards his infrastructure initiative while calling for increased leveraging of private sector capital.

The budget reiterates Trump’s promise, made during the campaign and since taking office, to spur $1 trillion in total infrastructure investment. Along with increased spending, the administration said it “will structure that funding to incentivise additional non-federal funding” while prioritising and expediting certain projects.

Talking points released alongside the $4.1 trillion budget cite leveraging the private sector as one of the administration’s key infrastructure principles. Private investment can improve service delivery “through better procurement methods, market discipline and a long-term focus on maintaining assets”.

“While public-private partnerships will not be the solution to all infrastructure needs, they can help advance the nation’s most important, regionally significant projects,” the budget memo goes on to state.

Trump’s budget represents an outline of the administration’s spending and taxation priorities, as Congress must now author its own budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

Trump’s plan looks to expedite the environmental review process, which it calls “fragmented, inefficient and unpredictable”. It proposes increasing subsidies for the TIFIA programme, which finances transportation projects through credit, loans and loan guarantees, to $1 billion annually – up from $275 million in 2016. And it suggests easing federal restrictions on tolling of interstate highways, an idea favoured by some transportation analysts.

But the budget also includes a 12.7 percent cut to the Department of Transportation, which would see its funding drop from $18.6 billion in 2017 to $16.2 billion next year. These cuts were first proposed in the president’s “skinny budget” released in March and received criticism from industry champions at the time.