President Trump will unveil a broad sketch of his highly anticipated infrastructure package in the coming weeks, according to his Transportation chief.
Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, speaking at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event on Monday, promised that the details of the administration’s $1 trillion rebuilding proposal would soon land on Capitol Hill.
“The administration will share its vision of what the infrastructure plan will look like in the next several weeks, which will kick off our collaboration with Congress,” Chao said.
The development comes as the administration is scrambling to score a legislative victory and pivot from the controversy surrounding Trump’s stunning firing of FBI Director James Comey last week.
Trump’s effort to rebuild U.S. roads, bridges, airports and other public works is seen as one of the rare opportunities for bipartisan compromise in Congress, though it will still face numerous hurdles.
The administration is expected to first release an outline of basic transportation principles, followed by a more detailed infrastructure proposal, said Ed Mortimer, the Chamber’s executive director of transportation infrastructure.
Chao said congressional debate on the bill would likely come in the third quarter. But that timeline would put it up against debate over spending bills, the debt ceiling and a must-pass aviation bill.
The proposal will contain $200 billion in taxpayer dollars to leverage $1 trillion worth of overall investment through public-private partnerships, said Chao.
But there has been concern about whether the private financing model would attract smaller-scale projects in rural areas, especially if they don’t have a revenue stream to recoup their investment costs.
Chao emphasized that the White House is committed to ensuring that rural projects are addressed in the package, saying direct funding will be included for any projects that boost gross domestic product or “lift the American spirit.”
The plan is also expected to streamline the permit-approval process and contain some regulatory, administrative and policy reforms to help speed up project delivery, Chao said.