Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America

Washington, D.C. (February 12, 2018): The White House today released its long-anticipated “infrastructure package” that contains funding for a wide array of infrastructure projects with significant reliance on contributions from state, local, and private sources to achieve its overall investment goals.

The outline proposes a total federal funding level of $200 billion. By requiring significant local and state shares and encouraging private investment through expansion of existing financing mechanisms, the administration projects the resulting total infrastructure investment would be $1.5 trillion. Despite the call from a wide variety of organizations, associations, and others, the bill does not specifically contain any funding to help preserve the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, which will run short of funding starting sometime in 2020. Nor does the proposal contain a specific offset for the administration’s proposed funding.

The proposed funding is distributed through several new programs:

  • $100 billion for the Infrastructure Incentives Program, with funding distributed by USDOT, EPA, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Local and state share of funding would be at least 80%, with additional credit given to projects with a higher non-federal share and from state or local funding sources that were raised most recently.
  • $50 billion for the Rural Infrastructure Project, $40 billion of which would be distributed as block grants by formula to states based on total mileage of rural roads and rural population. The remaining $10 billion would fund “rural performance grants” for states that have prepared comprehensive reports of rural infrastructure.
  • $20 billion for Transformative Projects Fund to support innovative projects that would otherwise have a hard time attracting private capital. Would support three tracks of projects: demonstration projects (30% federal share), planning (50% federal share), and capital construction (80% federal share).
  • $20 billion for Infrastructure Financing Programs, including $14B for existing financing programs (TIFIA, WIFIA, RRIF) and $6B for expansion of PABs.
  • $10 billion for Federal Capital Financing Fund, a funding mechanism to address current issues with real property acquisition by federal agencies.
  • Establishes the Interior Maintenance Fund, up to $18 billion to pay for capital and maintenance needs of public lands infrastructure. Funding is not included in $200 billion total, because it is drawn from additional revenues from mineral and energy development on federal lands and waters.
Other interesting policy changes proposed include:
  • Removing restrictions on tolling existing Interstates.
  • Raising the cost threshold for designation of “major project” from $500 million to $1 billion.
  • Allowing utility relocation in advance of NEPA review completion.
  • Requires use of “value capture” for transit projects under New Starts.
  • Applying FAST Act streamlining provisions to rail projects.
  • Additional provisions regarding water infrastructure, VA facilities, brownfields rehabilitation, and Superfund cleanup.
  • An extensive array of streamlining provisions intended to achieve the administration’s goal of reducing the length of time it takes for federal agencies to review and approve infrastructure projects, with a goal of two years.
The full text can be found HERE.
Also see NARC’s press release HERE.
More to come as we complete a more thorough review of the proposal.

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