Questions About Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Unanswered by Joint Address

By Stephanie Beasley

President Donald Trump’s joint address to Congress was light on details about what would be included in an infrastructure proposal or how it would be funded, disappointing industry groups that had urged him to use the opportunity to provide more specifics.

During his Feb. 28 speech to lawmakers, Trump reiterated plans to introduce a $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan. He said it would be funded with both public and private dollars.

“This effort will be guided by two core principles: Buy American and Hire American,” Trump said.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has said previously that she expected the infrastructure package to include a mix of public and private money. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers said before the speech that it was interested in hearing more specific information about the funding mechanism.

“AEM members are eager to hear President Trump detail the scope of his infrastructure proposal, and identify a method for funding it,” the group said.

If Trump was “serious about infrastructure,” he would back a plan that would use revenue from repatriated U.S. corporate taxes, Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) said in a statement. Delaney has proposed using those dollars to set up an infrastructure bank.

Trump provided no further details about what infrastructure areas might be included in his proposal. He has talked often about the need to repair U.S. roads, bridges and airports.

The Association of American Railroads released a letter urging Trump to make railroads a central part of the package. Among other items, the group said, it would like to see the administration prevent the Surface Transportation Board from making rail policy changes that could adversely impact the freight rail industry. The AAR also suggested the administration work with Congress to establish more public-private partnerships for freight railroad projects.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Beasley in Washington at sbeasley@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at phendrie@bna.com

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