Trump-O-Meter

Invest $550 billion in infrastructure and create an infrastructure fund

 "The Trump Administration seeks to invest $550 billion to ensure we can export our goods and move our people faster and safer."


PolitiFact is tracking the promises of President Donald Trump. See them all at PolitiFact.com.

Updates

U.S. Route 27 Bridge at Cincinnati (Wikimedia commons)
U.S. Route 27 Bridge at Cincinnati (Wikimedia commons)

Infrastructure plan delayed, but set for January release

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said that his administration would seek to invest "$550 billion to ensure we can export our goods and move our people faster and safer."

This pledge remains on the administration's list of priorities, but 11 months into Trump's presidency, there has been little concrete progress, in part because Congress has turned to other Republican priorities first, including attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act and enacting a tax bill.

Now, with the tax bill nearing passage, there is a widespread expectation that the White House will introduce an official infrastructure proposal in January 2018, possibly before his State of the Union address Jan. 30, Politico reported.

Early discussions have suggested that the headline number in the White House proposal will be worth $1 trillion -- almost twice the amount promised during the campaign. However, the federal share of spending might be as low as $200 billion, with the rest made up through private investment.

"The hangup will always be how you pay for it, as it always is," said Matt Jeanneret, deputy chief operating officer at the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. "What that $1 million would mean, no one is really sure yet. The private sector likely wouldn't get involved unless there's a benefit to them."

Jeanneret added that it remains unclear how much of the White House proposal will be for transportation-related funding and how much for other areas, such as broadband communications and water projects.

It also remains to be seen how Democrats will react to the pending proposal. Unlike the health care and tax bills, which Republicans were able to address on a 51-vote basis, an infrastructure bill would increase spending, meaning Democratic votes would be needed to reach the 60-vote threshold in the Senate.

Since the White House is still planning to pursue an infrastructure bill, we'll keep this rating at In the Works.

Sources:

Politico, "Democrats cool to Trump's infrastructure pitch," Dec. 14, 2017

Interview with Matt Jeanneret, deputy chief operating officer at the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Dec. 14, 2017

A wheel loader scoops debris from the Seminary Road overpass being demolished above Interstate 395 during a Virginia Department of Transportation project in Alexandria, Va., in 2015. (Bloomberg/Andrew Harrer)
A wheel loader scoops debris from the Seminary Road overpass being demolished above Interstate 395 during a Virginia Department of Transportation project in Alexandria, Va., in 2015. (Bloomberg/Andrew Harrer)

White House budget gives rough outline of Trump infrastructure plan

On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump pledged to invest $500 billion in infrastructure. His first annual White House budget calls for $1 trillion.

The budget document, released May 23, says the White House intends to meet this $1 trillion goal through "new Federal funding, incentivized non-Federal funding, and expedited projects that would not have happened but for the Administration's involvement (for example, the Keystone XL Pipeline)."

This means the administration wants to spend about $200 billion over 10 years that it believes will, in turn, spur private investment.

A fact sheet attached to the budget says the government could incentivize more private and local investment by, for example, expanding a program that provides credit and financing for infrastructure projects and lifting restrictions on highway tolls.

The budget also calls for eliminating regulations that the White House views as burdensome to accomplishing major infrastructure projects.

Since Trump's election, some Democrats have expressed willingness to work with Trump on an infrastructure spending plan. But Senate Democrats blasted his budget for actually cutting more than $200 billion from existing infrastructure programs, such as major cuts to Amtrak.

The White House budget is only a proposal, and it doesn't contain much detail. Congress would have to pass legislation for Trump's infrastructure plan to become reality.

The document reflects Trump's policy priorities, though, and so we rate his promise to invest $550 billion in infrastructure In the Works.

Sources:

 White House Office of Management and Budget, "A New Foundation For American Greatness Fiscal Year 2018," May 23, 2017

White House, "Off-camera Briefing of the FY18 Budget by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney," May 22, 2017

White House, "Press Briefing on the FY2018 Budget," May 23, 2017

White House, "Fact Sheet: 2018 budget infrastructure initiative," May 23, 2017