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Infrastructure & Technology

Did You Know? The Federal Government’s Outsized, but Limited Role in Infrastructure

2 minute read

A Nation’s infrastructure is a measure of its greatness. It affects everyone’s quality of life, ability to succeed, and is obviously, a critical component to a functioning economy.

That is why President Trump unveiled his infrastructure plan this week, calling on Congress to pass legislation that will make everything from highways to waterways safer, faster, more reliable, and modern.

But did you know – although the federal government plays an outsized role in issuing infrastructure permits, it actually owns and funds very few projects?

Virtually 100 percent of major infrastructure projects in the U.S. require some form of federal permitting, slowing down the process of which skyscrapers are built, bridges constructed, and highways paved.

The U.S. built the Empire State Building in just one year, but now it can take up to 10 years just to get a project off the ground. That’s why President Trump’s infrastructure plan aims to cut the permitting process down to 2 years – so that projects can be built more swiftly, and meet the needs of you and your families in the timeframe you deserve.

Although the federal government plays an outsized role in permitting, it actually owns and funds very little infrastructure in the United States.

The federal government funds about 14 percent of all of the country’s infrastructure needs, and owns even less. Spending from the private sector and state and local governments make up the other 86 percent.

That’s why President Trump’s plan aims to incentivize these groups – private companies, state and local governments – to take ownership of their infrastructure projects. His initiative will delegate authority to states and communities, and trust them to make decisions to meet their own unique infrastructure needs.

The President’s plan will also encourage these entities by awarding project sponsors incentives for demonstrating innovative infrastructure approaches that will generate outside investment, with increased performance and shortened timelines. It will award federal money based on the merits of these proposals.

States and localities really do know best. It’s time for Washington to get out of the way, and instead of build bridges to nowhere, let the people who live in their communities decide what projects they need to better the quality of their lives.