By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the Trump administration would unveil a $1 trillion infrastructure plan later this year, but she did not offer details of funding for projects.
Chao said at an event at the department’s headquarters that the infrastructure initiative would include “a strategic, targeted program of investment valued at $1 trillion over 10 years. The proposal will cover more than transportation infrastructure, it will include energy, water and potentially broadband and veterans hospitals as well.”
Chao’s comments were the most detailed timetable from the administration about its plans to unveil a plan to modernize U.S. roads, bridges, airports, electrical grid and water systems. Chao said the administration plans to offer incentives for public-private partnerships rather than simply fund improvements.
It was not clear how much new federal funding the Trump administration would propose.
She said the plan would aim to speed the processes for government projects.
Investors have been growing more skeptical that the infrastructure plan will win approval this year. The Dow Jones Transportation Average rose after the election and closed at a record high on March 1 but is now down 4.3 percent for the month.
Some investors have questioned how soon Trump’s pro-growth policies may be implemented.
Earlier this month, Trump proposed $16.2 billion for the Department of Transportation’s discretionary budget for fiscal year 2018, a reduction of 13 percent.
The budget would eliminate $175 million in annual funding for the Essential Air Service, a program to support commercial air service to rural airports and end subsidies for Amtrak to operate long-distance train service.
The Trump budget would also eliminate the Obama administration’s “TIGER” grant program, saving $499 million. That program has been used to fund a variety of transportation projects, including high-speed and intracity rail, highway construction and transit bus systems.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)