Trump says 'OK with me' if plan to rebuild roads founders - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Trump says 'OK with me' if plan to rebuild roads founders

(AP Photo/John Locher, File). In this May 19, 2017, file photo, a man works on the Southern Nevada portion of U.S. Interstate 11 near Boulder City, Nev. (AP Photo/John Locher, File). In this May 19, 2017, file photo, a man works on the Southern Nevada portion of U.S. Interstate 11 near Boulder City, Nev.
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File). In this July 9, 2017, file photo, Amtrak workers continue ongoing infrastructure renewal work beneath Penn Station in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File). In this July 9, 2017, file photo, Amtrak workers continue ongoing infrastructure renewal work beneath Penn Station in New York.

By KEN THOMAS
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump sent Congress a sweeping plan Monday to rebuild the nation's depleted roads and bridges - then immediately raised doubts about how committed he was to delivering on that campaign promise.

"If you want it badly, you're going to get it," Trump told state and local officials during a meeting at the White House. "And if you don't want it, that's OK with me too."

Trump suggested that his proposal - aimed at spurring $1.5 trillion in spending over a decade - was not as important to him as other recent administration efforts to cut taxes and boost military spending.

"If for any reason, they don't want to support to it, hey, that's going to be up to them," Trump said of the Republican-controlled Congress. "What was very important to me was the military, what was very important to me was the tax cuts, and what was very important to me was regulation."

Speaking of infrastructure, Trump added: "This is of great importance, but it's not nearly in that category. Because the states will have to do it themselves if we don't do it. But I would like to help the states out."

The administration's plan is centered on using $200 billion in federal money to leverage more than $1 trillion in local and state tax dollars to fix America's infrastructure, such as roads, highways, ports and airports. The administration released a 55-page "legislative outline" for lawmakers who will write the legislation.

With the plan heavily dependent on state and local dollars, Democrats warned it would raise tolls on commuters, sell off government-owned infrastructure to Wall Street and eliminate critical environmental protections.

The proposal lists Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport as examples of assets that could be sold. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., warned that the proposal included studying whether the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation's largest public utility, should sell its transmission assets. He called it "a looney idea" with "zero chance of becoming law."

"After a full year of empty boasts, the president has finally unveiled a puny infrastructure scam that fully fails to meet the need in America's communities," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

Convening a roomful of state and local leaders, Trump listened as governors and mayors pitched individual projects in their states and described the challenges involved with gaining federal permits.

"It seems to me that the pyramids in Egypt were built faster than some of the projects that we're contemplating," said Esteban Bovo, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Commission in Florida.

Trump vowed repeatedly that the federal permitting process would be streamlined but said it would be up to state and local leaders to ensure that local permits don't hold up worthy projects.

"Washington will no longer be a roadblock to progress. Washington will now be your partner," Trump said.

During the meeting, the former real estate developer reveled in his past life as a builder, pointing to his 1980s completion of a troubled renovation of Wollman Rink in New York City's Central Park.

When a local official from Pennsylvania noted plans to add connections for an interstate highway - estimated to cost more than $500 million - Trump was blunt. "Get the price down a little bit," he said to laughter.

"To me this is a very, very sexy subject," Trump said. "The media doesn't find it sexy. I find it sexy because I was always a builder, I always knew how to build on time, on budget."

The proposal features two key components: an injection of funding for new investments and to speed up repairs of crumbling roads and airports, as well as a streamlined permitting process that would reduce the wait time to get projects under way. Officials said the $200 billion in federal support would come from cuts to existing programs.

Half the money would go to grants for transportation, water, flood control, cleanup at some of the country's most polluted sites and other projects.

States, local governments and other project sponsors could use the grants - which administration officials cast as incentives - to cover no more than 20 percent of the costs. Transit agencies generally count on the federal government for half the cost of major construction projects, and federal dollars can make up as much as 80 percent of some highway projects.

About $50 billion would go toward rural projects - transportation, broadband, water, waste, power, flood management and ports. That is intended to address criticism from some Republican senators that the administration's initial emphasis on public-private partnerships would do little to help rural, GOP-leaning states.

The remaining federal dollars include: $20 billion for expanded loan programs and private bonds, $20 billion for "transformative projects" that seen as visionary and $10 billion for a capital financing fund and office-building by the federal government.

"This plan recognizes what everyone in America knows firsthand: America's infrastructure is in disrepair, and it's long past time we start building again," said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

___

Associated Press writer Kevin Freking in Washington and Jonathan Mattise in Nashville, Tenn., contributed reporting.

___

Follow Thomas on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@KThomasDC

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • National SportsMore>>

  • Clark: Players still concerned about unsigned free agents

    Clark: Players still concerned about unsigned free agents

    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:35 PM EST2018-02-24 17:35:29 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:56 PM EST2018-02-24 17:56:10 GMT
    (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File). FIEL - In this Feb. 19, 2017, file photo, Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Players Association, answers questions at a news conference in Phoenix. A proposal collapsed that would have put a runner on secon...(AP Photo/Morry Gash, File). FIEL - In this Feb. 19, 2017, file photo, Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Players Association, answers questions at a news conference in Phoenix. A proposal collapsed that would have put a runner on secon...
    Union leader Tony Clark says major league players remain concerned about the unusual amount of unsigned free agents with spring training nearing the end of its second week.
    Union leader Tony Clark says major league players remain concerned about the unusual amount of unsigned free agents with spring training nearing the end of its second week.
  • The Latest: Texas to withhold Davis from competition

    The Latest: Texas to withhold Davis from competition

    Friday, February 23 2018 11:38 AM EST2018-02-23 16:38:08 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:56 PM EST2018-02-24 17:56:04 GMT
    (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File). FILE - In this oct. 26, 2016, file photo, North Carolina State NCAA college basketball player Dennis Smith, Jr. answers a question during the Atlantic Coast Conference media day in Charlotte, N.C. Bank records and other e...(AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File). FILE - In this oct. 26, 2016, file photo, North Carolina State NCAA college basketball player Dennis Smith, Jr. answers a question during the Atlantic Coast Conference media day in Charlotte, N.C. Bank records and other e...
    North Carolina State athletic director Debbie Yow says the school in 2012 disassociated itself from a former NBA agent at the center of a federal probe into college basketball corruption.
    North Carolina State athletic director Debbie Yow says the school in 2012 disassociated itself from a former NBA agent at the center of a federal probe into college basketball corruption.
  • College basketball takes second big hit with new allegations

    College basketball takes second big hit with new allegations

    Saturday, February 24 2018 2:55 AM EST2018-02-24 07:55:24 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:55 PM EST2018-02-24 17:55:52 GMT
    (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File). FILE - In this March 12, 2016, file photo, LSU's Tim Quarterman watches the final moments of the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference tournament in Nashville...(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File). FILE - In this March 12, 2016, file photo, LSU's Tim Quarterman watches the final moments of the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference tournament in Nashville...
    A new round of allegations has given college basketball a black eye less than a month before the NCAA Tournament.
    A new round of allegations has given college basketball a black eye less than a month before the NCAA Tournament.
  • Strange NewsMore>>

  • Oklahoma City receives rare lake effect snow from storm

    Oklahoma City receives rare lake effect snow from storm

    Thursday, February 22 2018 1:24 PM EST2018-02-22 18:24:37 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 11:36 AM EST2018-02-24 16:36:24 GMT
    Oklahoma City, meet the Great Lakes. A weather event known as lake effect snow that's common in the upper Midwest and northeastern U.S., made a rare appearance at Oklahoma City's Lake Hefner on Wednesday.
    Oklahoma City, meet the Great Lakes. A weather event known as lake effect snow that's common in the upper Midwest and northeastern U.S., made a rare appearance at Oklahoma City's Lake Hefner on Wednesday.
  • Texas woman defecates in pants to hide drugs during arrest

    Texas woman defecates in pants to hide drugs during arrest

    Saturday, February 24 2018 11:28 AM EST2018-02-24 16:28:15 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 11:36 AM EST2018-02-24 16:36:23 GMT
    Police say a Texas woman attempted to hide evidence during an arrest by defecating in her pants and using the feces to conceal drugs.
    Police say a Texas woman attempted to hide evidence during an arrest by defecating in her pants and using the feces to conceal drugs.
  • APNewsBreak: NY touts economic boom with South African photo

    APNewsBreak: NY touts economic boom with South African photo

    Tuesday, February 20 2018 6:12 PM EST2018-02-20 23:12:34 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 11:36 AM EST2018-02-24 16:36:21 GMT
    (Empire State Development via AP). This screen shot from a report released on the website of New York state's economic development agency, Empire State Development, shows seven towering heavy-lift cranes to help illustrate the state's growth, but the A...(Empire State Development via AP). This screen shot from a report released on the website of New York state's economic development agency, Empire State Development, shows seven towering heavy-lift cranes to help illustrate the state's growth, but the A...
    APNewsBreak: New York economic development agency issues report illustrating state's booming growth with 8-year-old photo of construction cranes in South Africa.
    APNewsBreak: New York economic development agency issues report illustrating state's booming growth with 8-year-old photo of construction cranes in South Africa.
  • Government shutdown endNational politicsMore>>

  • US weighs Sheldon Adelson offer to fund Jerusalem embassy

    US weighs Sheldon Adelson offer to fund Jerusalem embassy

    Friday, February 23 2018 5:05 AM EST2018-02-23 10:05:30 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:49 PM EST2018-02-24 17:49:05 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). FILE - In this May 23, 2017, file photo, Sheldon Adelson, right, talks with Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, before a speech by President Donald Trump at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Adelson has proposed paying for at ...(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). FILE - In this May 23, 2017, file photo, Sheldon Adelson, right, talks with Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, before a speech by President Donald Trump at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Adelson has proposed paying for at ...
    President Donald Trump's administration is considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
    President Donald Trump's administration is considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
  • Trump Jr. 'loves' Indian media covering his business visit

    Trump Jr. 'loves' Indian media covering his business visit

    Friday, February 23 2018 5:34 AM EST2018-02-23 10:34:34 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:46 PM EST2018-02-24 17:46:48 GMT
    (AP Photo). Donald Trump Jr, the eldest son of President Donald Trump, attends an event at the Trump Tower in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. For over a week the front pages of many Indian newspapers have promised that buyers who put down a dep...(AP Photo). Donald Trump Jr, the eldest son of President Donald Trump, attends an event at the Trump Tower in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. For over a week the front pages of many Indian newspapers have promised that buyers who put down a dep...
    Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the U.S. president, will be pushing another ethics boundary on his whirlwind trip to India when he makes a foreign policy speech.
    Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the U.S. president, will be pushing another ethics boundary on his whirlwind trip to India when he makes a foreign policy speech.
  • US lands agency makeover would diminish Washington's power

    US lands agency makeover would diminish Washington's power

    Friday, February 23 2018 10:45 AM EST2018-02-23 15:45:44 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:19 PM EST2018-02-24 17:19:49 GMT
    U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has changed a proposed overhaul of his department with a new organizational map that more closely follows state lines instead of the natural boundaries he initially proposed.
    U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has changed a proposed overhaul of his department with a new organizational map that more closely follows state lines instead of the natural boundaries he initially proposed.
Powered by Frankly