The first phase of the infamous California’s high-speed rail project is seven years behind schedule and could end up 50 percent over budget. On Wednesday, President Trump pushed his White house team to craft a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that would ensure states streamline local permitting, favor renovations of existing roads and highways over new construction, and prioritize projects whose construction can commence immediately.
The Hot Air reports:
“We’re not going to give the money to states unless they can prove that they can be ready, willing and able to start the project,” Mr. Trump said at a private meeting with aides and executives that The Wall Street Journal was invited to observe. “We don’t want to give them money if they’re all tied up for seven years with state bureaucracy.”
The president said he was inclined to give states 90 days to start projects and instructed the new head of the Environmental Agency, Scott Pruitt, to provide a recommendation. Trump expressed interest in building high-speed railroads and inquired about the possibility of auctioning the broadcast spectrum to wireless carriers. He also asked for more details about the Hyperloop, a project that could rapidly transport passengers through low pressured tubes.
The central mystery is where the funding will come from. Trump mentioned in his speech last week that it’ll be a combination of public and private capital, but there are plenty of projects, like rebuilding roads, that aren’t natural targets for private developers. (After California’s miserable experience, does any private investor want to shovel money into a high-speed-rail sinkhole?) You can entice them with tax breaks, but at the end of a day a project is profitable or it isn’t, and many won’t be. That’s where the public capital comes in — and although conservatives in Congress won’t like it, Team Trump has signaled before that it’s more open to direct spending on infrastructure than many Republicans are