"There's still going to be the president's priorities as we seek to spend the money consistently with our priorities, not with the priorities that were reflected most by the Democrats in Congress", Mulvaney said.
The plan involves around $200 billion in federal funding over 10 years, to be taken from cuts to other programs, including $100 billion in incentives to state and local governments to stimulate spending on infrastructure including highways, ports, and airports reports Reuters.
"Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and - where appropriate - tapping into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit", President Trump said at last month's State of the Union address.
"This is in no way, shape or form. a take it or leave it proposal", said one senior administration official.
Democrats insist that any plan must include new revenue, which could mean raising the federal gas tax. Funding for federal-aid highways, including interstates, is usually allocated in an 80-20 federal-state split.
The budget request will be delivered to Congress only days after Trump signed into law a bipartisan spending agreement hammered out by lawmakers that will increase domestic spending by $300 billion over two years - including $165 billion in defense spending and $131 billion in non-military domestic spending. Proposals to streamline the permitting process as a way to reduce the cost of projects have already generated opposition from environmental groups.
"The process we have in the USA just takes way too long", the official said. "It's focused more on preparing for litigation and building up massive documents".
"It's broken in two different ways: We are under-investing in our infrastructure, and we have a permitting process that takes so long that even when funds are adequate, it can take a decade to build critical infrastructure", said one official.
Under the plan, the government would adopt a "One Agency, One Decision" structure, eliminating multi-agency reviews and approvals that slow the process. The administration official said to expect the president to travel in the coming weeks and months around the country to promote the infrastructure plan - along with Cabinet officials similar to how the White House sold the tax plan.
The 2019 budget was originally created to double down on last year's proposals to slash foreign aid, the Environmental Protection Agency, home heating assistance and other nondefense programs funded by Congress each year.
Ahead of the president's announcement, the National Governors Association, National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials expressed support for having a national conversation on transportation funding. They all called on efforts to move forward but called for "a strong federal-state-local partnership" as well. State and local governments are expected to pony up the rest. "I'm anxious about the infrastructure bill because instead of the federal government doing what it's done since 1820 - putting money to build highways, roads - they're going to say 'let the private sector do it.' That will result in tolls, Trump Tolls I would call them, across the country, in highways that we now are able not to have tolls on".
The administrations calls the concept "one agency, one decision" and proposes a single timeline for all relevant federal permitting agencies directed by a lead agency.
"At the same time, we continue to apply federal rules, regulations, and mandates on virtually all infrastructure investments".
But only $200 billion of the $1.5 trillion would come from federal money.