Trump's infrastructure plan ...

WASHINGTON — President Donald 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 proposal, to be unveiled the same day as 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 nationwide.

The president, who plans to invite Democrats and Republicans to the White House this week to call for a sweeping bipartisan infrastructure initiative, will propose to devote a total of $200 billion in federal dollars to the program, according to senior White House officials who previewed the plan.

Half of that amount would go toward matching funds that states and cities commit to financing their own infrastructure projects.

Trump's plan, the officials said, would also provide $50 billion in block grants to governors to fund rural infrastructure projects, and a $20 billion increase in loans and bonds to finance transportation, water, rail and other projects.

A major element of the proposal would be to speed the approval of such projects to two years, the latest in a series of attempts by the Trump administration to reduce government regulations, including environmental restrictions, that corporations say are burdensome.

The blueprint represents Trump's long-awaited strategy for fulfilling a campaign promise to spearhead a $1 trillion effort to rebuild the nation's dilapidated infrastructure and create thousands of jobs in the process.

The odds of a bipartisan effort coming together in the current political environment are long. White House officials said the new spending would be offset by unspecified cuts elsewhere in the budget. Many infrastructure experts consider the ratio Trump's aides are proposing for a public-private plan — essentially creating $6.50 in private investment for every federal dollar spent — to be largely out of reach. And the president plans to leave it up to lawmakers, who are divided on how to finance any infrastructure effort, to decide on key questions such as whether to enact a gas tax to pay for it.


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