Local officials react to President Trump's proposed infrastructu - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local officials react to President Trump's proposed infrastructure plan

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

More money for better roads. That's what President Trump says a new infrastructure plan will offer. One local congressman says it will work and he's hoping the President's plan is approved by congress.

"I think our country needs infrastructure development," said Congressman Chuck Fleishmann. "That means roads, that means bridges, that means our inland waterways like our Chickamauga lock. If we are going to have continued robust commerce, we need to have the means to get goods from place to place." 

TDOT officials say this plan could help them complete road and bridge projects faster. Infrastructure also includes airports and broadband growth. 

The proposal calls for simplifying the approval process to help complete projects in two years or less. It also calls for aggressive rural development and a $100-billion incentive program to encourage local government to partner with private investors. 

"The problems states have and local leaders have with funding the infrastructure is horrendous," said President Trump. 

Democrats have blasted the plan, saying it relies too much on private and local funding.

Fleishmann disagrees, suggesting federal dollars would be best spent by local officials.

READ MORE | UPDATE: TVA, Sens. Alexander & Corker respond to Trump's proposal 

"Because I really believe that our local TDOT officials and our local officials know where best to spend that money as opposed to Washington D.C. bureaucrats," said Fleishmann. 

Fleishmann believes the proposed growth plan would generate more jobs and economic growth for years to come. 

"I've had many companies tell me if they had better access, this is throughout the Tennessee Valley, to a major road that they would be much more inclined to come here and build a factory," said Fleishmann. " It's all about having proper access." 

TDOT recently reduced the number of state infrastructure projects to stay debt free. Tennessee's " Improve Act" will fund 962 road and bridge projects across the state.

Officials say 21 of those projects are in Hamilton County.

Right now it's not clear if President Trump's plan would add to that list, or if changes will be made to the plan before congress approves it. 

In a statement about the infrastructure plan, Senator Bob Corker said, "Unlike the federal government, for years, the state of Tennessee has made the tough decisions necessary to run a debt free road program while maintaining its infrastructure in a responsible way. While I have consistently offered solutions to the fiscal challenges facing our federal highway program, I am open to alternative proposals and applaud the administration for envisioning a new way to leverage many of our existing resources to spur further state infrastructure investment."

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