List of Trump’s Likely Infrastructure Priorities Emerges

The first phase of the Second Avenue Subway in New York City opened on Jan. 1.

The first phase of the Second Avenue Subway in New York City opened on Jan. 1. New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority

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These 50 projects may get quick attention if the president’s ambitious agenda moves forward in the nation’s capital.

Before he took office, when President Trump touted his ambitions to undertake a major national infrastructure program, many of the details were abstract. Now, the picture of what projects are likely to move forward has somewhat come into focus.

A list of approximately 50 infrastructure projects obtained by The Kansas City Star and the McClatchy newspaper chain details the highway, railway, seaport and airport projects that will likely move to the front of the line as emergency and national security priorities.

The list of projects, totalling at least $137.5 billion, includes:

  • Numerous interstate highway upgrades in places like Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
  • Major intercity rail projects like the redevelopment of Chicago Union Station and Washington Union Station, the proposed Gateway tunnel between New York City and New Jersey, and high-speed rail between Dallas and Houston.
  • Public transit projects like the extension of Boston’s Green Line, Maryland’s Purple Line outside Washington, D.C., the next two phases of the Second Avenue Subway in New York City, the modernization of the Red and Purple lines in Chicago, and the M-1 Rail streetcar line in Detroit.
  • Airport expansion projects in Kansas City, Seattle and St. Louis.
  • Dam repairs in South Carolina and major inland waterway improvements at the Soo Locks in Michigan and at locks along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.
  • Expansion of port facilities in New Jersey and Savannah and shipping channels in Louisiana.
  • Electricity transmission system upgrades in New York and the U.S. Southwest.

At this point, it’s not clear if the project list is a draft or is something more concrete and the White House has not commented on the McClatchy report.

According to McClatchy:

The National Governors Association asked governors’ offices last month for input on a preliminary list of infrastructure projects compiled by the Trump team, said Jaime Smith, a spokeswoman for Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee.

“They seek examples of priority infrastructure projects that might be incorporated into a future infrastructure investment program,” said the letter from the governors’ association, dated Dec. 16. “Specifically, the transition team is looking for 3 to 5 project suggestions from each state that they would vet for inclusion in a new program.”

The letter said the vetting would be done by a bipartisan infrastructure commission overseeing investments.

“The initial spend on these projects for 2017 is expected to be $150 billion, and the transition team hopes that this type of project will be continued over the next 2 years,” according to the letter.

On Tuesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate unveiled a $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan that would rely on direct federal spending, The Washington Post reported, noting that “Democrats see talk of infrastructure projects as a way to piggyback on Trump’s frequent vows to repair the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges and persuade him to adopt ideas that would put him at odds with GOP leaders, who have done little to embrace what would amount to a major new government spending program.”

Trump has indicated that his infrastructure ambitions would be financed through public-private partnerships.

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Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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