Feb. 14 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump expressed optimism that Congress will approve his $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan at the White House on Wednesday.
He spoke prior to a meeting that included House, Senate and Cabinet members.
"We're here today to discuss the urgent need to rebuild and restore America's depleted infrastructure. We've been having meetings with different members of Congress," Trump said. "This is a priority that is shared by members of both parties. And most importantly, it's shared with the American people and by the American people. To begin the conversation on the issue, I have laid out the principles of the biggest and boldest infrastructure initiative in, at least, a half-a-century.
The package, revealed Monday, calls for repair and replacement of U.S. highways, bridges and airports by committing $200 billion in federal funding during the next decade. Grants to secure local and private funding account for $100 billion of the plan. Another $50 billion will go toward rural needs, to be determined by each state, and $20 billion is reserved for what the plan calls "technical assistance for bold, innovative, and 'transformative' infrastructure projects that could dramatically improve infrastructure."
It notably shifts much of the financial burden, normally assumed by the federal government, onto state and local governments, as well as private investors.
Trump added that he encouraged Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a telephone call on Wednesday, to invest more in U.S. manufacturing.
"They [Japanese companies] announced, as you know, a number of plants are coming into Michigan and other states, but we want them to bring in more and they will do that. He said they will do that. And we will expect to have some announcements pretty soon," Trump said.