Two weeks after President Donald Trump said his infrastructure plan was coming in two to three weeks, his secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao, issued the same tease: Stay tuned for a few more weeks.
Speaking at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce-sponsored “Infrastructure Week” event, Chao said the plan would call for $200 billion in taxpayer funds to spur outside dollars through private-public partnerships.
"These funds will be used to leverage $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years," Chao said according to the Associated Press, noting that the tax dollars would be offset by unspecified savings to keep from adding to the national debt.
While infrastructure is hardly the sexiest topic, there was considerable buzz around the event, with Twitter users jumping on the trending hashtag suggesting projects ripe for infrastructure investment, including a slew of tweets advocating building a wall on the southern border.
The $200 billion is the same number the White House budget director earmarked for infrastructure investment last month.
“We’re certainly going to spend some money,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said then.
Status: Little action
The White House has not yet rolled out a plan to rebuild what Trump calls America’s “crumbling” infrastructure.
The president appointed a special assistant of infrastructure with D.J. Gribbin, who has a history brokering deals between private investors and governments seeking infrastructure investment, the very kind of deal Trump says is key to funding reform without growing the deficit. Congressional leaders and infrastructure experts say they’re unsure just how feasible such funding mechanisms are; domestically, the nation has seen both successes and failures arise from such partnerships.
Trump's only action to date on an infrastructure project is his approval of permits for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. With that, Trump made good on one campaign promise while reneging on another: The Keystone XL pipeline won’t have to use American steel in construction, despite a White House order mandating pipelines do so.