Politics & Government

Trump will pledge federal dollars for infrastructure projects in rural areas


Rural areas would get federal dollars to rebuild roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects under a plan President Donald Trump will announce next week.

After facing criticism for a budget proposal that hung his rural voters out to dry with huge cuts to crop insurance, Medicaid, rural loan programs and air services, Trump will release details of the infrastructure plan in a speech on Wednesday that White House officials say will stress his commitment to rural communities.

Voters who live in rural areas gave Trump a 61-34 percent advantage over Democrat Hillary Clinton in November, according to exit polls.

In the speech on the Ohio River, Trump will pledge to ensure that rural areas get “their fair share of infrastructure funding,” said Gary Cohn, director of the White House Economic Council.

A bill to allocate the funds, however, still does not exist. White House officials couldn’t say when such legislation might appear, or exactly how the president proposed to pay for his investment in rural infrastructure.

Trump also will lay out other elements of his still-forming infrastructure plan in the speech, including a push to privatize everything from the nation’s air traffic control system to highway rest stops and regulatory reform with the goal of streamling the government permitting process from about 10 years on average to less than two.

Trump’s budget proposes $200 billion in spending on infrastructure over several years.

Some of that money would be dedicated to funding rural infrastructure projects, White House officials say. But they didn’t say how much.

Some would be used to provide financial incentives for private companies to invest in roads, rails, bridges and other projects in more highly populated areas, which are more likely to provide a revenue stream to make such investments profitable.

The idea is that every taxpayer dollar spent on infrastructure should spur on average at least $5 in investment at the state and local level. That would mean a $1 trillion investment on infrastructure over the next decade, according to Trump’s plan.

Lindsay Wise: 202-383-6007, @lindsaywise