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Update: Infrastructure Initiative

June 5, 2017

At the end of May, the proposed 2018 United States federal budget was released and incorporates $200 billion in outlays over ten years linked to the President’s infrastructure initiative. The funding proposes to use the $200 billion to leverage $1 trillion worth of overall investment and is intended to address a broad range of transportation projects, as well as the construction of veterans hospitals, and energy and broadband improvements.

Though the budget does not specify complete plan details, it does say it intended to use a combination of funding options that include federal investments, new financing tools that foster private investment, and the reforming of regulations to help expedite the approval process and construction timelines. The focus of the federal investments is expected to be on the most transformative projects; giving high priority to those projects leading to a long-term change in infrastructure improvements.

Part of the new funding looks to support better infrastructure decisions by using federal capital revolving funds and partnership grants for federal assets. Also, the new federal spending hopes to motivate private companies and state and local governments to scale up their spending many times over.

The president is expected to make several public speeches in the next few weeks which may offer more details about the possible implementation of the infrastructure initiative. As for congressional support of the budget and plans, that remains to be determined. Spending on roads and construction has been something that both parties seem to back as a good idea, but how to pay for it may overtake the bipartisan interest in getting something accomplished.