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Trump Pushes Construction Plan to Upgrade Aging Infrastructure


President Donald Trump prepares to speak at Local 18 Richfield Training Facility, March 29, 2018, in Richfield, Ohio.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday his plan to upgrade the nation's aging highways and bridges would transform them "from a source of endless frustration into a source of endless pride."

The U.S. leader, speaking at a union training center in the Midwestern state of Ohio, said Americans had watched as Washington "spent trillions of dollars building up foreign countries while allowing our own country's infrastructure to fall into a state of total disrepair."

Trump was pushing his proposal to use $200 billion in federal money over the next decade to spur at least $1.5 trillion in overall spending on the new construction, a program that has drawn little support in Congress.

"Now is the time to rebuild our country, to take care of our people, to fight for our great American workers," Trump said.

He first unveiled the plan in February and hailed it as one that could garner support from his Republican colleagues in Congress, as well as from opposition Democrats. But there is no indication that lawmakers will take it up anytime soon as they focus more on getting re-elected in the November elections.

President Donald Trump joined by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, left, and Vicksburg, Miss., Mayor George Flaggs, Jr., right, speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 12, 2018, during a meeting with state and local officials about infrastructure.
President Donald Trump joined by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, left, and Vicksburg, Miss., Mayor George Flaggs, Jr., right, speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 12, 2018, during a meeting with state and local officials about infrastructure.

Trump's plan calls for heavy investments by state and local governments for most of the infrastructure spending. That led some lawmakers to say the plan could lead to construction of toll roads that are unpopular with commuters in order to pay for the upgraded roads, or the sale of government assets to raise money.

FILE - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks to the media during a news conference about infrastructure, Feb. 8, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
FILE - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks to the media during a news conference about infrastructure, Feb. 8, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Instead of looking to adopt Trump's plan, House Speaker Paul Ryan, who oversees the majority Republican caucus in the House of Representatives, touted infrastructure improvements included in last week's $1.3 trillion spending plan that funds government agencies through the end of September.

"Long-overdue updates to our country's infrastructure," Ryan said in a Twitter remark.

Affair allegations

Trump's visit to Ohio was the U.S. leader's first public appearance this week, days after adult film actress Stormy Daniels alleged in a nationally televised broadcast that she had a one-night affair with Trump in 2006, months after his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son, Barron.

Stormy Daniels, an adult film star and director whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is interviewed by Anderson Cooper of CBS News' "60 Minutes" program in early March 2018, in a still image from video provided March 25, 2018.
Stormy Daniels, an adult film star and director whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is interviewed by Anderson Cooper of CBS News' "60 Minutes" program in early March 2018, in a still image from video provided March 25, 2018.

Trump's personal attorney and White House aides have denied the affair, but Trump has not commented on the allegations. His White House spokesmen have declined to discuss a $130,000 payment made by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election — money Daniels says was aimed at buying her silence ahead of the voting.

After his speech in Ohio, Trump headed to his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago to spend the Easter weekend with his family.

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