Trump’s infrastructure bill could come as soon as May, cost over $1T

Trump’s infrastructure bill could come as soon as May, cost over $1T
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President Trump’s massive infrastructure package could be bigger than expected and be released as early as next month, according to the administration.

Trump had called on Congress to move legislation that would generate $1 trillion worth of investment for U.S. roads, bridges and airports, but he signaled Tuesday that the figure could actually climb higher.

“We’re talking about a very major infrastructure bill for $1 trillion, perhaps even more,” Trump said during a town hall-style event with American business CEOs.

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The administration is still crafting the proposal, which wasn’t expected to take shape until after Congress tackled healthcare and tax reform. But since the House failed to move forward on ObamaCare repeal last month, the timeline for other priorities such as infrastructure could be sped up.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao indicated Tuesday that the proposal could be unveiled as soon as next month.

“We’re working on a legislative package that will probably be in May, or late May,” Chao said during the town hall event.

The rebuilding package is expected to include a wide array of transportation projects, and could even target things like broadband access and veterans hospitals.

Trump has placed a heavy emphasis on streamlining regulatory hurdles, with the goal of bringing down the permitting process from 10 years to one year, he said Tuesday.

The package may also give projects a 90-day deadline to get started in order to receive funding. Trump said he will be setting up a committee to vet and oversee federally funded projects.

"We're going to be very strong that it has to be spent on shovels, not on other programs," Trump said. “If you don’t start, if you have a job that you can’t start within 90 days, we’re not going to give you the money for it.”

But National Economic Council director Gary Cohn said there will also be an emphasis on transformative projects, such as modernizing the country's air traffic control system.

Trump has called for spinning off air traffic control operations from the federal government, though Cohn acknowledged the plan could face opposition from GOP appropriators.

“Air traffic control is probably the single most exciting thing we can do,” Cohn said.