WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The President unveils a plan to rebuild the country's infrastructure and builds a bridge with Nebraska's Governor in the process.
President Donald Trump's plan calls for the federal government to speed up project permitting, and provide $200-billion in federal grants and loans. That cash is meant to rebuild crumbling roads and bridges, train workers, and build out new projects including broadband internet.
But, to get that cash, he expects buy-in for projects from local and state governments. To get a piece of that 200-billion dollars he wants locals to pony up $1.3 trillion.
After the President laid out his big ideas, he made it clear to the local and state officials they'll need to compete for any federal dollars they're going to get. The fewer federal dollars they need, the more likely they are to win federal help.
Gov. Peter Ricketts, R-Neb., took part in Monday's meeting. He says the state can win some of that federal funding. He spoke with Kyle Midura following the meeting.
Kyle Midura: "What do you come out of that meeting thinking about as it relates to Nebraska?"
Gov. Ricketts: "Well, I think this is a game-changer for transportation. The parts of this bill are really exciting when you're talking about the funding for rural roads, workforce development, public-private partnership. But, the key thing I think, it actually gets back to the environmental permitting and making that process easier, because that is a big roadblock in the way of us developing our transportation system."
Kyle Midura: It sounds like the president is going to make governors like yourself compete for some of this federal funding, are you prepared to do that, and where do you think you were ready to make a pitch?
Gov. Ricketts: "Absolutely, the states are always ready to compete. And, two years ago we already passed the Transportation Innovation Act in Nebraska, to be able to start addressing some of these issues. So, we're actually ahead of the federal government in thinking about this. And, we are really pleased to see the federal government coming along and really thinking about how we can be innovative in developing our infrastructure.
Kyle Midura: "What's the role for broadband in your state moving forward?"
Gov. Ricketts: "Well, that was talked about a lot today with regard to broadband. That's a big issue in Nebraska, especially in our rural areas, and again, I think this is a game-changer for helping us develop that, trying to really unleash the potential in our small towns and rural communities."