Transportation

Trump Wants to Shift Infrastructure Decisions to States

“Top advisers crafting President Trump’s infrastructure plan say they aim to upend the way U.S. public works are financed, shifting the bulk of the decision-making and costs to states and cities and away from Washington,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The administration is proposing $200 billion in new federal funding as the central piece of its $1 trillion plan to improve the nation’s infrastructure. President Trump frequently cited the need for upgrades on the campaign trail.”

Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Is Going Nowhere

“As a candidate, President Trump billed himself as a new breed of think-big Republican, pitching a $1 trillion campaign pledge to reconstruct the nation’s roadways, waterworks and bridges — along with a promise to revive the lost art of the bipartisan deal,” the New York Times reports.

“But an ambitious public works plan, arguably his best chance of rising above the partisan rancor of his first six months in office, is fast becoming an afterthought — at precisely the moment Mr. Trump needs a big, unifying issue to rewrite the narrative of his chaotic administration.”

“Infrastructure remains stuck near the rear of the legislative line, according to two dozen administration officials, legislators and labor leaders involved in coming up with a concrete proposal.”

GOP Leaders Say Infrastructure Plan Must Wait

“The timing and fate of President Trump’s infrastructure plan may depend on whether the GOP enacts major tax reform — a task that could prove challenging amid the struggle to pass a healthcare bill,” The Hill reports.

“Republicans are signaling that a massive rebuilding package, which has long been one of Trump’s top priorities, will most likely have to wait on the sidelines until lawmakers overhaul the tax code.”

Trump Air Traffic Control Plan In Trouble

Playbook: “House Republicans have been scrambling to find enough votes for President Donald Trump’s first infrastructure initiative: privatizing the country’s air traffic control system… The whip count was close to a few dozen votes short as of the time lawmakers left town Friday afternoon.”

“Several lawmakers we spoke to yesterday afternoon said it simply wasn’t a vote they wanted to take, because it gains them nothing back home. In many cases local leaders are against the legislation. Roads are in disrepair, bridges are crumbling and no one really cares about modernizing air traffic control, as one lawmaker put it to us. This would be a big embarrassment for Trump and GOP leaders, however. The inability to push a priority through one chamber shows how difficult D.C. is.”

Trump Plans Week-long Focus on Infrastructure

President Trump “will seek to put a spotlight on his vows to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system and spur $1 trillion in new investment in roads, waterways and other infrastructure with a week-long series of events starting Monday in the Rose Garden,” the Washington Post reports.

“The events — billed as ‘infrastructure week’ — are part of a stepped-up effort since the president’s return a week ago from his first foreign trip to show that the White House remains focused on its agenda, despite cascading headlines about his administration’s ties to Russia.”

New York Times: “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.”

Trump Will Propose ‘Two-for-One’ Deal on Infrastructure

Associated Press: “The Trump administration intends to propose a package of tax breaks meant to help spur $1 trillion in new spending on roads, bridges and other construction over the next decade. But as part of that bill, Trump also wants introduce measures to drastically shorten approval times for projects.”

“The strategy appears aimed at building support for an effort with little momentum in Congress. Democrats are critical of Trump’s focus on public-private partnerships, rather that more traditional funding, while many conservative Republicans have balked at the idea of a massive government investment.”

Axios: “Trumpcare is still a long way from passing, and the timeline for tax reform is quietly being pushed back. Infrastructure may actually be the easiest sell politically, but it’s caught up in a legislative logjam that won’t be broken so long as health care is in the way.”

Infrastructure Plan Faces Same Obstacles as Health Care

Politico: “Trump’s plan, expected to be released as early as May, has already faced months of skepticism from some conservative deficit hawks — even though it’s likely to call for far less direct federal spending than its eye-popping price tag implies. Meanwhile, Democrats are crying foul at suggestions that the blueprint will include hefty tax breaks for private investors and a shredding of permit requirements.”

“And even if the plan entails just a few hundred billion dollars in direct federal spending on roads, bridges, tunnels, railroads and airport upgrades — as most leaks to date indicate — no easy answers exist on where Congress would find that money. Trump is expected to let lawmakers do the heavy lifting on those details, which most likely depend on Congress’ ability to craft a once-in-a-generation overhaul of the tax code.”

Trump Will Package Tax Reform and Infrastructure

“The Trump administration is looking at driving tax reform and infrastructure concurrently,” Axios reports.

“It’s a major strategic shift – infrastructure was likely going to be parked until next year – and is only possible because of last week’s healthcare debacle.”

“President Trump feels burned by the ultra conservative House Freedom Caucus and is ready to deal with Democrats. Dangling infrastructure spending is an obvious way to buy the support of potentially dozens of Dems, meaning he wouldn’t have to bargain with the hardliners.”

For members: Trump Missed His Window for Bipartisan Action

Senate Democrats Unveil Infrastructure Plan

“A group of senior Senate Democrats on Tuesday plan to unveil their own $1 trillion plan to revamp the nation’s airports, bridges, roads and seaports, urging President Trump to back their proposal, which they say would create 15 million jobs over 10 years,” the Washington Post reports.

“Eager to drive a wedge between the new president and congressional Republicans, Democrats consider talk of infrastructure projects as a way to piggyback on Trump’s frequent vows to repair the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges and persuade him to adopt ideas that would put him at odds with GOP leaders, who have done little to embrace what would amount to a major new government spending program.”

Trump Partners Will Oversee Infrastructure Spending

President-elect Donald Trump is planning to name real-estate developers Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth to head up a new council he is creating to monitor spending on his proposed $1 trillion plan to improve the nation’s roads, bridges and other public works, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Trump: “They’re pros. That’s what they do. All their lives, they build. They build under-budget, ahead of schedule.”

D’Amato Kicked Off Flight

Former Sen. Al D’Amato (R-NY) “was escorted from a JetBlue flight Monday night after trying to lead passengers in a chant protesting seating changes requested by the crew,” the New York Post.

“D’Amato and other passengers who were already ‘super cranky’ about the six-and-a-half hour delay were even less enthusiastic when the flight crew asked people who paid extra for legroom to switch seats because of ‘weight and balance issues’… D’Amato, who was sitting toward the back of the plane — in a seat with sparse legroom — began chanting ‘make them move,’ which a smattering of fellow passengers took up, and marched up and down the aisle.”