Trump promises ‘first-class’ infrastructure system for US |

Trump promises ‘first-class’ infrastructure system for US

Jill Colvin and Darlene Superville
Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Dogged by allegations in Washington, President Donald Trump traveled to friendlier territory Wednesday and promised to create a "first-class" system of roads, bridges and waterways by using $200 billion in public funds to generate $1 trillion in investment to pay for construction projects that most public officials agree are badly needed and long overdue.

"America must have the best, fastest and most reliable infrastructure anywhere in the world," Trump said, pushing his infrastructure plan in middle America as Washington geared up for Thursday's appearance before Congress by fired FBI Director James Comey.

"We will fix it," said Trump, standing along the Ohio River. "We will create the first-class infrastructure our country and our people deserve."

But the controversies and distractions in Washington continued to dog the president throughout the day. As he was speaking, the Senate Intelligence committee released the prepared testimony Comey is expected to deliver Thursday. It includes detailed descriptions of meetings and phone conversations between Trump and Comey.

In the speech, the president also pressed the Senate to send him a health care bill, criticized congressional Democrats as "obstructionists" and revisited his controversial decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement.

Trump said that as he campaigned across the country last year, people often asked him why the U.S. was spending money to rebuild other countries when the roads and bridges they travel on needed rebuilding, too.

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Trump declared the days of spending on other nations are over: "It's time to rebuild our country" and to "put America first," he said.

While infrastructure initially was seen as an area where Republican and Democrats could work together, Democrats have balked at Trump's plan for using tax incentives and public-private partnerships to finance improvements. Many argue such a plan would result in taxpayer-funded profits for corporations with the cost loaded onto consumers.

LaMalfa supports Trump proposal

Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, said he supports Trump's infrastructure plan that includes federal grants for rural areas to create funding for additional infrastructure projects and repair existing infrastructure.

"The President has shown a commitment to improving our nation's aging infrastructure, and I am appreciative of funding programs intended specifically for rural areas like Northern California," LaMalfa said in a news release. "While big cities have more resources to compete for existing federal grant programs, creating a program specifically for rural areas means we have more opportunities to fund projects like the expansion of State Route 70 in Butte County and Interstate 5 between Anderson and Redding. "

This plan would potentially lower costs on significant infrastructure projects to our state, such as Sites Reservoir, while also providing funds for highways, bridges, and waterways that are badly in need of expansion or repair. Additional transformative projects, like wholesale air traffic control reform, will help bring American Infrastructure into the 21st century."