Transportation

White House Kills Infrastructure Package

“The White House formally drove a dagger into the passage this year of the kind of massive infrastructure package called for by President Trump,” Roll Call reports.

“What is on the White House’s legislative agenda for the rest of the year includes another tax package, a farm bill, more federal judiciary nominations — and possibly immigration legislation.”

“White House legislative affairs chief Marc Short told reporters Friday that infrastructure will slide into 2019. He blamed election-year politics, saying Democrats have signaled in recent conversations they are uninterested in handing Trump a victory ahead of the midterm elections.”

Trump’s Infrastructure Promise Isn’t Happening

Jonathan Chait: “The tax cut probably dealt the fatal blow to infrastructure. Republican leaders convinced Trump that the tax cut would give them a popular accomplishment that they could tout in the midterm elections (it didn’t). And once the tax cut had passed, the deficit soared, and Republicans, following the familiar script, had to start complaining about excessive spending in order to deflect blame for the deficit from their beloved tax cut. Passing a trillion-dollar debt-financed infrastructure bill might have been easy a year or six months ago. At this point, it would be difficult.”

“Trump’s promise to ‘build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, sea ports and airports that our country deserves’ appears destined to go unmet. We will always be able to look back on Trump’s first term and remember the many, many Infrastructure Weeks, which brought Americans of all walks of life together to appreciate the importance of transportation development. The real Infrastructure Week was not in any bill, it was in our hearts all along.”

Trump Wants His Personal Pilot to Run the FAA

President Trump’s personal pilot “is on the administration’s short list to head the Federal Aviation Administration,” Axios reports.

“Trump has told a host of administration officials and associates that he wants John Dunkin — his longtime personal pilot, who flew him around the country on Trump Force One during the campaign — to helm the agency, which has a budget in the billions and which oversees all civil aviation in the United States.”

Trump Endorses 25-Cent Gas Tax

Jonathan Swan: “President Trump endorsed a 25-cent gas tax hike to pay for infrastructure at a White House meeting this morning with senior administration officials and members of Congress from both parties… Trump also said he was open to other ways to pay for infrastructure.”

“Trump’s gas tax idea appears dead on arrival. Republicans aren’t about to hike taxes for the Trump voters driving their pickup trucks to work every day.”

Trump Puts Little Money Behind His Infrastructure Plan

“President Trump on Monday will propose offering $100 billion in federal incentives to encourage cities and states to invest in road, bridge and other building projects, the centerpiece of a plan to spur $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending over the next decade without devoting significant federal money,” the New York Times reports.

“The proposal, to be unveiled the same day as Mr. Trump’s 2019 budget, faces long odds on Capitol Hill, where members of both parties — particularly Democrats — are skeptical of any plan that fails to create a dedicated new funding stream to address the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Lawmakers are also doubtful that such a small federal investment will be sufficient to spur an infrastructure spending boom.”

Trump Criticizes Infrastructure Plan Before It’s Unveiled

Washington Post: “President Trump expressed misgivings about his administration’s infrastructure plan Friday at Camp David, telling Republican leaders that building projects through public-private partnerships is unlikely to work — and that it may be better for the government to pursue a different path. Then on Saturday morning, Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic adviser, delivered a detailed proposal on infrastructure and public-private partnerships that seemed to contradict the president. He said the administration hoped $200 billion in new federal government spending would trigger almost $1 trillion in private spending and local and state spending, according to people familiar with his comments.”

“Cohn seemed to present the plan as the administration’s approach, although the president had suggested such an approach might not work. The seemingly contradictory statements, made within 24 hours of each other, show the uncertainty of the administration’s approach to its top legislative priority in 2018: building roads, bridges and highways.”

Democrats Cool to GOP Infrastructure Plan

“The White House is preparing to unveil its long-awaited $1 trillion infrastructure plan soon after President Donald Trump signs the GOP tax overhaul, hoping to begin 2018 with another big legislative win — but its approach is already drawing resistance from Democrats who are in no mood to cooperate,” Politico reports.

“The plan set for release in January is expected to call for as much as $200 billion in federal spending over the next decade, with the rest coming from private investment, state or local funding and cuts to other federal programs.”

Trump to Release Infrastructure Plan In January

President Trump “plans to keep pushing his legislative agenda in 2018 by releasing his long-promised infrastructure plan in early January,” Bloomberg reports.

“Infrastructure advocates question whether a Republican-led Congress will be able to pass a spending plan with enough federal funding if it’s already approved a tax measure that official estimates say would bloat the budget deficit. Some say the administration missed its best opportunity to deliver a meaningful public works initiative by not incorporating it into the tax bill, which is nearing approval.”

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.”