Jan. 20, 2017 – Commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross told senators that he sees a need for federal government spending on infrastructure – a week after DOT nominee Elaine Chao said she thinks Trump wants federal dollars to be a part of his infrastructure plan. “I think there will be some necessity for it, whether it’s in the form of guarantees or direct investment or whatever, but it’s really for the Congress and the president to figure out what should be the quantity of it and what should be the nature of the projects,” Ross told Senate Commerce Committee members at his confirmation hearing.
Ross’ proposal wasn’t supposed “to be the be all and end all”: Responding to questions from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ross said that the paper he co-wrote about infrastructure as an adviser during Trump’s campaign didn’t attempt to rule out all but private-sector spending on projects. That paper – by Ross and Peter Navarro, the designated head of Trump’s National Trade Council – calls for giving tax credits to private investors, who are more drawn to projects expected to generate revenue, reported Politico.
“The infrastructure paper that I put out – as you note, senator – was meant to provide another tool, not to be the be all and end all,” Ross said. “And I certainly think there’s a role for the federal government to play just as there is for state and local government to play in dealing with some of these critical infrastructure needs of communities.”