Business News

Trump’s $1T Infrastructure Plan Still ‘Up in the Air’

Over 10 years, President Trump has promised to generate $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, and with two of his other top campaign pledges in trouble, infrastructure appeared to be an area ripe for bipartisan compromise, so we thought!

US Department of Transportation Resources

Companies

  • American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight.

  • The mission of the Department is to: Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.

  • Company Quicklook

The on-again, off-again, much-ballyooed $1 trillion infrastructure program promised by the fledgling Trump administration is on again. Sort of.

After failing on its longstanding promise to fix Obamacare before moving onto the very complicated task of tax reform, the administration has sent conflicting messages about infrastructure.

At first, it was a go immediately. Then it was relegated after tax reform, which meant 2018 - or maybe never.

Now, at this moment, it’s a go ahead. Perhaps as early as May. Or maybe not.

“We want to do a great infrastructure plan,” Trump told the New York Times. “I think it’s going to be one of the very bipartisan bills and it’s going to happen.”

Then, just as if he were dousing hopes of a simple infrastructure bill unencumbered with partisan politics, the mercurial president added: “I may put it in with health care.”

So much for simple.

Incoming Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao

“DOT has a budget of $70 billion and we don’t build anything”Elaine Chao,
Transportation Secretary

At least, Trump is now vowing to cut red tape to speed up approval of infrastructure projects and said his overhaul could top $1 trillion on roads, tunnels and bridges, one of his many campaign promises.

His comments came at a White House meeting of 50 chief executives and other business leaders.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said recently the administration plans to release a legislative package in May of this year.

Investors have become more skeptical that the plan would win approval this year in Congress, which is controlled by Republicans who are traditionally wary of big government spending programs such as this.

Chao also said that DOT “has a budget of $70 billion and we don’t build anything.” She was referring to the billions that DOT distributes Highway Trust Fund dollars through a formula that essentially acts as a block grant to states.

Chao now says “money is not the problem,” adding:

“There’s lots of money chasing too few deals. And so what we need to do is somehow work on the upstream part of rebuilding our infrastructure, and that is to let loose the permitting process so that deregulatory efforts can be ongoing.”

That process is slow.

Trump said building a highway can require dozens of approvals and take 10 to 20 years, a process he is promising to streamline.

Trump said he would not fund projects that cannot be started within 90 days.

ATA President and CEO Chris Spear

“Our industry currently loses nearly $50 billion annually to congestion - that is unacceptable”Chris Spear, President & CEO, American Trucking Associations

Meanwhile, American Trucking Associations (ATA) is keeping the pressure on Capitol Hill.

FedEx Freight President and CEO Mike Ducker and Werner Enterprises President and CEO Derek Leathers both told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security, the U.S. must invest more in its roads and bridges so the trucking industry may continue to safely and efficiently move the nation’s goods.

“ATA and its members are continuing to tell our story on Capitol Hill and at the White House about need to improve our nation’s roads and bridges,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear.

“Our industry currently loses nearly $50 billion annually to congestion - that is unacceptable. We must unclog our arteries and highways and make our infrastructure safer and more efficient by investing in our roads and bridges.”

Read: ATA Members Call for Increased Infrastructure Investment

Meanwhile, states continue to act on their own to improve infrastructure in wake of the federal government’s inertia. California recently enacted a $52 billion highway improvement program.

It will be paid for by raising $5.2 billion a year for 10 years by increasing the vehicle registration fee by $25 to $175 depending on the value of the vehicle, raising gas and diesel taxes this year and creating a $100 annual fee on zero-emission vehicles beginning in 2020.

Related Article: Former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Discusses President Trump’s Infrastructure Plan

Related "Infrastructure" Papers

Download the Paper

American Infrastructure Improvements
Across the political spectrum, there is general agreement that America’s infrastructure needs significant improvement, and by some measures, our current national investment in infrastructure is at a seventy-year low, and this investment deficit is imposing serious costs on our economy and global competitiveness. Download Now!


Download the Paper

A Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure
The Senate Democrats’ “Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure” would make a historic $1 trillion federal investment to modernize our crumbling infrastructure and create more than 15 million jobs that our economy desperately needs, by The Senate Democrats. Download Now!


Download the Paper

Beyond Shovel-Ready: The Extent and Impact of U.S. Infrastructure Jobs
For decades, policymakers have called for more spending on America’s infrastructure to stimulate job growth, this report sheds new light on the widespread contributions that infrastructure jobs make to the nation’s economy, including their importance at the metropolitan level. Download Now!


Download the Guide

The Case for Investing in America’s Transportation Infrastructure
This report outlines the economic cost of neglecting America’s transportation infrastructure and the positive effects of reinvesting in it for the 21st Century, and contrasts America’s current investment with 20th Century levels and guides policymakers forward in efforts to rebuild this vital economic foundation. Download Now!


Article Topics
Trends   Business   Government   Other   Infrastructure Plan   All topics


Comments
Be the first to post a comment.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Login.

About the Author
John D. Schulz
John D. Schulz has been a transportation journalist for more than 20 years, specializing in the trucking industry. John is on a first-name basis with scores of top-level trucking executives who are able to give shippers their latest insights on the industry on a regular basis.
 
Latest Business News
FedEx Surprises Wall Street with Resignation of President & COO David J. Bronczek
FedEx Corp. threw Wall Street into a loop by announcing the resignation of Fred Smith’s top deputy David J. Bronczek just weeks after he joined the company’s board, Raj Subramaniam will take over as…

C.H. Robinson Announces Bob Biesterfeld to Replace John Wiehoff as CEO
C.H. Robinson has announced that as part of a “long-planned succession process”, effective May 9, Chief Operating Officer Robert ("Bob") Biesterfeld, will become Chief Executive Officer, as well as…

Want To Be Like Amazon? Treat Your Customers Like Kings
From day one, Amazon observed its customers, asked for their input, anticipated their wants and needs, and treated them with complete trust and respect.

Are Graduate Degrees Leading to Less Job Options?
The economy is humming all cylinders, employers say they can’t find employees with the right skills, yet graduate students report a tough job market. Are Advanced Degrees Taking Students Backwards in…


 

Attend the premier educational conference that answers the question "What's next in supply chain management?" NGSC is dedicated to preparing executives for the coming technologies that will have the most transformative effects on business.

Learn more or register.

24|7 Company Profiles