Trump to visit Ohio to pitch $1.5T U.S. infrastructure plan

President Donald Trump outlines his U.S. infrastructure plan during a rally at the Rivertowne Marina -- with the Ohio River in the background -- in Cincinnati on June 7. Thursday, the president will travel to the Cleveland area to push for the $1.5 trillion proposal. File Photo by Tom Uhlman/UPI | License Photo

By Ed Adamczyk – UPI

President Donald Trump is preparing to travel to northern Ohio to promote his ambitious, trillion-dollar plan to upgrade the nation’s roadways, airports and bridges, the White House said Wednesday.

The president’s speech — set for an audience of local workers at a Cleveland-area engineers’ training site in Richfield on Thursday — is billed as an opportunity for Trump to explain his vision for rebuilding America.

Trump’s infrastructure program is a key element of his agenda to improve the domestic economy. In February, speaking before a meeting of House, Senate and Cabinet members, he expressed optimism that Congress would approve the $1.5 trillion proposal.

The package calls for the repair and replacement of some U.S. highways, bridges and airports by committing $200 billion in federal funding over the next decade.

Grants to secure local and private funding account for $100 billion of the plan, and another $50 billion will be spent on rural needs, to be determined by each state. Another $20 billion is reserved for what the administration calls “technical assistance for bold, innovative, and transformative” measures intended to dramatically improve the national infrastructure.

Trump’s plan notably shifts much of the financial burden, normally assumed by the federal government, onto state and local governments, and private investors.

Ohio is an example of a state that assumed infrastructure burdens normally undertaken by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.

During a conference call with reporters, a White House spokesman cited upgrades to Ohio’s Interstate 71 interchange, saying the state shortened the project approval time from a typical 64 months to 28 months.