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Letter gives early look at possible sweep of a Trump infrastructure plan

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A document provided last month to the nation’s governors offers an early glimpse of the wide array of projects that could be funded by a big infrastructure package promised from the Trump administration.

Projects listed in the document include rehabilitation of some major airports and rail stations, such as Union Station in Washington, D.C. It includes highway and bridge projects, such as an overhaul of the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Virginia. And it includes mass-transit projects, such as the proposed Purple Line light-rail system in Maryland.

There are also potential overhauls of the nation’s air traffic control system, hydroelectric plants and energy grid, as well as ports and waterways.

The document was provided to The Washington Post by the National Governors Association. A spokeswoman for the nonpartisan organization said it received it from Donald Trump’s transition team and characterized it as a list of “sample” projects.

The NGA subsequently sent letters to states asking for help in compiling three to five projects apiece to forward to Trump’s team.

As of Wednesday, 45 states had responded, though those requests are not being made public, said Elena Waskey, a spokeswoman for the NGA.

The NGA letter characterized the effort as “an initial information-gathering request” and said that “once the new Administration officially takes office, there will be a more formal process for states to submit information.”

Still, the list – which the White House did not immediately authenticate – provides an early look at the potential of an ambitious pledge by Trump to mobilize anywhere from half a trillion to a trillion dollars into upgrading the nation’s aging roads, bridges and transportation hubs. One significant obstacle is Republicans in Congress, who have shown little enthusiasm for additional spending.

The preliminary list includes the overhaul and expansion of several airports, including in St. Louis, Kansas City, Missouri, and Seattle. There are several potential repairs to major highways, including Interstate 95, in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida.

Mass-transit upgrades are listed for New York, New Jersey, Texas, Maryland, Michigan and Illinois. The list also includes a half-dozen “electricity and transmission projects.”

There are no dollar figures attached to the individual projects on the list, which was provided in the form of a spreadsheet.

Rather than rely solely on direct federal spending, advisers to President Donald Trump have said they would probably use tax credits and public-private partnerships. The letter sent by the NGA says the “initial spend” on projects is expected to be $150 billion during 2017, with the effort continuing over additional years.

According to the NGA letter, the vetting of funded projects would be done by a “bipartisan infrastructure commission overseeing investments” that would be similar in some respects to commissions that have overseen military base closures and realignments.

Trump has already started assembling a task force related to infrastructure projects.

While much of the new president’s agenda has not won bipartisan support, governors from both parties have expressed a desire to work with him on plans to invest in the nation’s infrastructure.

“Every single governor in this nation has roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and more that could be repaired or replaced – creating jobs and economic opportunity along the way,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D, the chairman of the NGA, said at an event hosted by the organization in Washington on Wednesday.

Democrats in Congress are pushing for more direct federal spending. That was reflected in a $1 trillion plan released Tuesday by a group of senior Senate Democrats. They said their plan would create 15 million jobs over a decade

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