The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs has scheduled an Aug. 30 event with state and local officials – including heads of department of transportation – to discuss the Trump administration's infrastructure investment ideas.
"The purpose of this event," said the invitation, "will be to underscore the need for a different approach, outline our draft guiding principles, and allow you all to brainstorm actions to help carry this conversation on the need for change and the opportunity to empower state and local leaders back to your states and communities."
It said participants at the afternoon program will join in a discussion with members of the President's National Economic Council, Special Assistant to the President for Infrastructure D.J. Gribbin, and "special guests including senior White House staff and Cabinet members," among them Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
The invitation comes after months in which the administration has held meetings but has yet to unveil a detailed infrastructure proposal or said how it would pay for one. President Trump in his 2018 budget plan proposed $200 billion of direct federal infrastructure spending over 10 years, with the goal of using it to leverage an additional $800 billion in state, local and private investment.
However, Trump also proposed cutting USDOT funding and popular programs that include TIGER infrastructure grants that Congress continues to fund each year, and the Essential Air Service program that subsidizes commercial air travel to and from rural airports that would otherwise not be able to draw commercial air service.
The Aug. 30 event could give the administration an opportunity to build momentum for an infrastructure plan before Congress returns Sept. 5 from its summer recess.
However, lawmakers will have a packed agenda as they try to pass spending bills, raise the debt ceiling and reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration before a Sept. 30 deadline. And this fall congressional leaders hoped to take up tax cut legislation, which the administration has said will come before infrastructure.