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Trump to pledge money for rural infrastructure

McClatchy Washington Bureau

June 04. 2017 12:36AM
Trump (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON - Rural areas would get federal money to rebuild roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects under a plan President Donald Trump will announce this week.

After criticism for a budget proposal that hung his rural voters out to dry with huge cuts to crop insurance, Medicaid, rural loan programs and air services, Trump will release details of the infrastructure plan in a speech Wednesday that White House officials say will stress his commitment to rural communities.

Trump will pledge to ensure that rural areas get "their fair share of infrastructure funding," said Gary Cohn, director of the White House Economic Council.

A bill to allocate the money, however, still does not exist. White House officials couldn't say when such legislation might appear, or exactly how the president proposed to pay for its cost.

Trump also will lay out other elements of his still-forming infrastructure plan in the speech, including a push to privatize such things as air traffic control, highway rest stops and regulatory reform with the goal of the government permitting process from about 10 years on average to less than two.

Trump's budget proposes $200 billion in spending on infrastructure over several years.

Some of that money would be dedicated to funding rural infrastructure projects, White House officials say. But they didn't say how much.

Some would be used to provide financial incentives for private companies to invest in roads, rails, bridges and other projects in more highly populated areas, which are more likely to provide a revenue stream to make such investments profitable.

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