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Thread: Trump Plans to Shift Infrastructure Funding to Cities, States and Business

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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Trump Plans to Shift Infrastructure Funding to Cities, States and Business

    Trump Plans to Shift Infrastructure Funding to Cities, States and Business

    By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and KATE KELLY
    JUNE 3, 2017

    WASHINGTON — President Trump will lay out a vision this coming week for sharply curtailing the federal government’s funding of the nation’s infrastructure and calling upon states, cities and corporations to shoulder most of the cost of rebuilding roads, bridges, railways and waterways.

    He will also endorse a plan to privatize and modernize the nation’s air-traffic control system. That plan, which is to be introduced on Monday at the White House and the subject of a major speech in the Midwest two days later, will be Mr. Trump’s first concrete explanation of how he intends to fulfill a campaign promise to lead $1 trillion in United States infrastructure projects. The goal is to create millions of jobs while doing much-needed reconstruction and updating. But the actual details of the initiative are unsettled, and a more intricate blueprint is still weeks or even months from completion.

    What the president will offer instead over the coming days, his advisers said, are the contours of a plan. The federal government would make only a fractional down payment on rebuilding the nation’s aging infrastructure. Mr. Trump would rely on a combination of private industry, state and city tax money, and borrowed cash to finance the rest. It would be a stark departure from ambitious infrastructure programs of the past, in which the government played a major role and devoted substantial resources to paying the cost of large-scale projects.

    “We like the template of not using taxpayer dollars to give taxpayers wins,” said Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council and an architect of the infrastructure plan, in an interview Friday in his West Wing office.

    His language evoked the corridors of Wall Street, where he previously worked. “We want to be in the partnership business,” Mr. Cohn said. “We want to be in the facilitation business, and we’re willing to provide capital wherever necessary to help certain infrastructure along.”

    As a model for the approach, Mr. Trump plans on Monday to send a proposal to Congress for overhauling the nation’s air-traffic control system. He would spin it off into a private, nonprofit corporation that would use digital satellite-based tracking systems, rather than land-based radar, to guide flights in the United States. There would be no cost to the government, Mr. Cohn said, because a newly formed corporation would finance the entire enterprise, using loans to handle the initial costs of equipment and other needs.

    On Wednesday, Mr. Cohn said, the president will travel to the banks of the Ohio River to deliver a speech about overhauling the nation’s infrastructure, including the inland waterways that are in dire need of attention.

    The philosophy undergirding the speech, administration officials said, is that melding public and private forces to rebuild the nation’s physical backbone will vastly expand the resources available to pay for doing it. The concept — a discussion of which helped cement Mr. Cohn’s hiring by Mr. Trump late last year — has driven infrastructure policy in the United States for many years. But Mr. Trump is proposing a far smaller federal investment than many Republicans and Democrats have long thought is necessary.

    Mr. Trump is “trying to figure out, How do I get the most infrastructure improvements for the American citizens in the quickest fashion I can with the best return on investment for the U.S. taxpayers,” said Mr. Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive. “It’s sort of a businessman’s model.”

    The White House has said Mr. Cohn will recuse himself from matters pertaining to Goldman, but it is unclear how that decision will affect any future plans by the company to bid for government partnerships in infrastructure. The White House noted on Saturday that the proposed air-traffic control corporation would be governed by independent directors with a fiduciary duty to the new entity.

    On Thursday, Mr. Trump will hold listening sessions at the White House with a group of mayors and governors. On Friday, he plans to cap off what members of the administration are calling “infrastructure week” with a visit to the Transportation Department, where he will discuss drastically reducing the time it takes to obtain federal permits for projects.

    The Trump administration clearly hopes the infrastructure rollout will provide a sorely needed policy victory. Its first attempt to overhaul the Affordable Care Act was so unpopular, even among Republicans, that House Speaker Paul Ryan called off a planned vote and began a rewrite. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently said he was uncertain whether he could find a majority to move a health care bill through his chamber.

    The president’s principles for a “massive” tax cut, encapsulated in what appeared to be a hastily written one-page document issued in April, were widely ridiculed for a lack of specifics and their underlying economic-growth assumptions, which many economists and policy experts considered overly rosy. And Mr. Trump has been roundly chastised for his recent decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, a multinational plan to limit global warming through curbs on emissions that Mr. Cohn and many prominent corporate executives supported.

    Despite the public push to promote the infrastructure package, Mr. Cohn acknowledged that the White House did not have a detailed proposal ready to release. He said, for example, that no decision had been made on whether the infrastructure plan would ultimately be married to a tax measure. Republicans and Democrats tried such a step during the Obama administration, in a plan that would have used revenue from repatriating corporate profits parked overseas to finance projects to improve roads, bridges, waterways, broadband and other areas.

    “It’s undetermined yet,” Mr. Cohn said. “It may come before. It may come during. It may come after.”

    Mr. Trump said in an interview with CBS News in April that his infrastructure bill was “largely completed, and we’ll be filing over the next two or three weeks, maybe sooner.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/u...-business.html
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    YES!!! Great ideas and goals. President Trump will make it happen, too. Looking forward to the roll-out!!!
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    The federal gov't needs to stop using our tax monies for refugees and illegals first and formost. Pushing the burden of infrastructure onto cities and states will only cause a drastic tax increase for its citizenry.
    Judy likes this.

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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artist View Post
    The federal gov't needs to stop using our tax monies for refugees and illegals first and formost. Pushing the burden of infrastructure onto cities and states will only cause a drastic tax increase for its citizenry.
    No, no. The cities and states have the money already, they're just spending it on illegal aliens and poverty. These big cities have tons of money they waste all the time. This plan will encourage them to redirect their wasteful money that doesn't get them anywhere into infrastructure to receive the benefits of a federal and private contributions. His idea is like a 3 way partnership of some type. Lets see what he has in mind.

    But I totally 100% agree that we stop wasting all federal money on refugees, immigrants and illegal aliens. All that needs to stop, pronto.
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    Companies taking over roads?
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ALIPAC View Post
    Companies taking over roads?
    A company builds a road and then turns it into a toll road to make money, or buys an existing road and turns it into a toll road.
    ---------------------
    Foreign Company Now Owns Six Major US Tolls Roads ...
    https://www.thetruckersreport.com/foreign-company-now-owns-six-major-us-tolls-roa...

    In a short-sighted attempt to fill holes in their budgets, some states have been selling the control over their toll roads to private foreign investors. The most famous case is the Indiana Toll road 75-year lease that started back in 2006. During the first five years of control, the company in charge more than doubled the toll for ...


    Foreign Company Now Owns Six Major US Tolls Roads
    https://www.thetruckersreport.com/fo...s-tolls-roads/


    NEWS
    Foreign Company Now Owns Six Major US Tolls Roads

    In a short-sighted attempt to fill holes in their budgets, some states have been selling the control over their toll roads to private foreign investors. The most famous case is the Indiana Toll road 75-year lease that started back in 2006. During the first five years of control, the company in charge more than doubled the toll for five-axel trucks from $14 to $32. That same company has been buying up control of U.S. toll roads since 1999 and now controls 6 major U.S. roadways.

    Spanish company Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte (or Cintra) just signed a deal with the state of Texas worth $1.38 billion where it will operate two future portions of the North Tarrant Express in Dallas/Fort Worth.

    While previous deals signed by Cintra have been for up to 99 years of control, this new deal only gives them control for 43 years. The lease will start from the date of completion which is estimated to be in mid-2018.

    The company has proudly declared that lanes that are currently toll-free will remain toll-free. Given that they will be taking control of primarily new lanes, this is not particularly comforting. The new roads will be built alongside the old overly-congested roads, but in order to use the new roads, drivers must pay tolls that increase based on the level on congestion. The more traffic there is in the free area, the more you’ll pay to get into the paid area. There has been no word yet on how much Cintra plans on charging for access to their “premium” roadway, or how much that price will fluctuate based on traffic.

    Cintra hopes to grow their total tally to seven toll roads in the near future. A new deal is being drawn up by Cintra’s parent company, Ferrovial, in hopes of building a new toll road parallel to U.S. 460 in Virginia’s port region.

    https://www.thetruckersreport.com/fo...r-us-tolls-roa...


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  10. #10
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    YES!!! Great ideas and goals. President Trump will make it happen, too. Looking forward to the roll-out!!!
    02/12/2018 01:57 pm ET Updated Feb 12, 2018

    Do You Like Paying Tolls? You’re Gonna Love Trump’s Infrastructure Plan

    The proposal would allow more states to toll interstate highways.

    By Igor Bobic


    WASHINGTON ― If you like paying tolls, you’re going to love Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan.

    The president’s long-awaited $1.5 trillion proposal, which was released Monday, seeks to leverage $200 billion in direct federal spending over the next decade into an additional $1.3 trillion by relying on state and local tax dollars, as well as private investment.

    One way to attract private investors to finance infrastructure projects would be to toll roads. Trump’s infrastructure plan would give states more flexibility to toll existing interstate highways ― under the rationale that if you use a road, you ought to pay a price in order to maintain it.

    “Tolling restrictions foreclose what might otherwise serve as a major source of revenue for infrastructure investment,” Trump’s plan reads.

    “Providing states flexibility to toll existing Interstates would generate additional revenues for states to invest in surface transportation infrastructure.”


    It’s not a new idea, nor is it a partisan one. Barack Obama’s administration, for example, repeatedly proposed lifting current prohibitions on states placing tolls on existing highway lanes.

    Proponents of the move argue that it would create new sources of badly-needed revenue, one that could find more support in Congress than an increase in the federal gas tax.


    Congress banned tolling on interstate highways in 1956 when it created the national highway system during Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration. Lawmakers have steadily chipped away at the restrictions since then, and tolls on interstates are now allowed in certain states in priority lanes. The 2015 federal highway bill, which was signed into law by Obama, included a pilot provision that allowed some states to explore further tolling of interstate highways.

    Adding fees on existing highways isn’t exactly a popular move, however. A statewide push to privatize highways in Texas suffered a backlash from angry commuters, who complained about exorbitant late fees and costly toll bills. In December, the state’s transportation officials voted against constructing new toll roads after opposition from Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R).

    Some Republicans in Congress are also opposed to the idea. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, has said he prefers increasing the gas tax over adding tolls to highways.

    Today, just 2,900 miles of the 46,730-mile federal Interstate Highway System includes toll booths, according to the Department of Transportation.

    “Tolls are a wildly inefficient tax, sacrificing money that could go toward construction to corporate profits and administrative costs,” Stephanie Kane, spokeswoman for the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates, said in a statement. “In addition to the diversion onto secondary roads which causes congestion and public safety issues, tolls will do unimaginable harm to businesses, as shipping and manufacturing prices skyrocket to account for these new costs.”

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also panned the idea of expanding the use of tolls on highways across the country.

    “The president’s infrastructure proposal would do very little to make our ailing infrastructure better, but would put unsustainable burdens on our local government and lead to Trump tolls all over the country, all while undermining important protections like Buy America,” Schumer said in a statement. “It is a plan to appease his political allies, not to rebuild the country.”

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry...b08dfc930673bb
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