- The Trump administration has put together a preliminary list of 50 high priority infrastructure projects to be funded in the upcoming overhaul, McClatchyDC reported last week based on documents obtained by the Kansas City Star and The News Tribune.
- The published list of 50 projects was reportedly made available to congressional and business leaders, and was near identical to the original list provided by the Trump administration. The latter list demands $137.5 billion in infrastructure funding, with 50% of the funds derived from private investment.
- All of the projects would require at least $137.5 billion in funding. The list includes 11 inland waterway projects comprising 9% of the budget, three rail projects accounting for 18% of the total costs and four port projects requiring 4% of the funding.
Projects focused on roads, bridges, passenger rail, air traffic and energy infrastructure were also prevalent within the top 50, but freight infrastructure — which includes freight rail, port, and waterway improvements — accounted for 36% of the projects and 31% of the total budget.
The reason, perhaps, is that these freight projects are of urgent need for U.S. competitiveness, feasible and its effects economically visible.
In a recent policy brief to the Trump administration, the American Association of Port Authorities detailed $20 billion in needs for port infrastructure as the facilities seek to upgrade their handling and storage capacities. In comparison, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates the surface transportation funding gap may well reach $1.1 trillion for basic needs.
In another example, Dam and Locks 52 and 53 on the Ohio River were recently placed in the spotlight for being 20 years and $1.125 billion over budget. With 80 billion tons of cargo moving through the river every day, delays caused by the old waterway infrastructure makes supply chains relying on the river less efficient.
Meanwhile, rail projects may be much more expensive but fewer in nature and also highly visible. The three rail projects include a gateway commissioned by Amtrak and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a central railway in Texas, and the completion of the Howard Street Tunnel for CSX's transit through Washington, D.C.
All in all, the circulation of such a document is a promising sign of the Trump administration's commitment to revitalizing the nation's infrastructure, even if Congress has yet to schedule it as a 200-day priority.