Ag Policy Blog

Trump to Highlight Locks and Dams in Infrastructure Push

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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President Donald Trump is focusing this week on his bid for a $1 trillion investment in American infrastructure.

As Associated Press reported, the president will hold a series of events throughout the week to draw attention to highways, bridges, the airports and waterways.

The president will be in Cincinnati on Wednesday where Trump will draw some attention to inland waterways. AP cited the president will be in Ohio and Kentucky throughout the day to talk about improving levees, dams and locks "that are crucial to agricultural exports."…

“It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you are farmer in the Midwest, or a mother driving your kids to and from school, or a worker or a college kid flying back and forth to school, you’re affected by infrastructure,” said White House economic adviser Gary Cohn in a conference call with reporters.

In May, the White House budget plan called for changing the Inland Waterways Trust Fund to increase fees paid by commercial navigation users of the waterways. The federal government would lower the 50% match for capital costs on locks an dams.

The White House plan for infrastructure focuses on using $200 billion mainly in tax breaks for businesses that the White House expects would leverage $1 trillion in construction, AP noted.

The plan would shift federal spending on highways from relying on fuel taxes to relying more on tolls and user fees. One of the changes in the White House budget is to lift highway restrictions on tolls and private-sector investment and operations of rest areas.

On Monday, the president focused on privatizing air-traffic control. Trump said the effort to privatize air traffic control would reduce wait times for fliers, increase travel and route efficiency and lead to fewer delays.

"Our air traffic control system was designed when roughly 100,000 people flew at our airports each year. We are now approaching nearly one billion passengers annually. The current system cannot keep up -- hasn’t been able to keep up for many years. It causes flight delays and crippling inefficiencies, costing our economy as much as $25 billion a year in economic output. We live in a modern age, yet our air traffic control system is stuck painfully in the past."

The president also said the administration's plan "will also maintain support for rural communities and small airports, including airfields used by our Air National Guard units -- great people."…

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