On February 12, President Donald Trump released his highly anticipated infrastructure proposal. The key financing element of the plan places 80% of the $1.5 trillion price tag on state, local, and private entities, with $200 billion in federal funding. Other critical elements of the plan include streamlining the permitting process to two years, promoting investment in rural infrastructure projects through $25 billion in block grants and increasing workforce training.
Water, roads and airports are highlighted in the plan. While there was little focus on energy infrastructure, President Trump’s proposal did provide some support for natural gas pipelines through its streamlining plans. By changing the Federal Power Act, the proposal includes the attempt to streamline applications by allowing agencies that are Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) participants to continue as a ‘cooperating agency.’ The plan also included a lot of attention to water infrastructure with a number of proposals that would ease private investment and ownership of drinking water and wastewater facilities. One proposal would allow automatic renewal of pollution discharge permits “if the water quality needs do not require more stringent permit limits” as well as lengthen the permits by 10 additional years.
The proposal seeks expansion of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), Superfund and Brownfields Programs.
The proposal also calls for giving the Department of Interior a mechanism to repair and maintain public lands, like our national parks, by establishing a Public Lands Infrastructure Fund. It is estimated that the National Park Service has an accumulation of $11.6 billion in repair and maintenance projects, and $800 million of that could be funded by energy production royalties and land leasing. An additional $891 million would be used to help fund the Bureau of Reclamation’s water systems and new capital construction plans.
The Trump administration has made their policy priorities clear with this proposal and put the ball in the lawmakers’ court.
The full infrastructure proposal can be viewed here.