President Trump praised President Eisenhower for building the last “truly great” national infrastructure program in an address to a joint session of Congress. “The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding,” he said, and asked Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure, financed through public and private capital.
He added that the $6 trillion spent to rebuild the Middle East could have rebuilt our country’s infrastructure twice. Trump also emphasized a desire for U.S. companies to “buy American” products and materials and “hire American” workers to fill good-paying jobs.
“The future of this rebuilding is in the hands of Congress and NSSGA embraces this once-in-a-generation opportunity to continue down the road of President Eisenhower to make the transportation system in the United States the best in the world,” said Michele Stanley, NSSGA director of government affairs.
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the address affirmed Trump’s desire to turn campaign promises into realities.
“President Trump made infrastructure a priority before the election, and his address tonight reaffirmed his commitment to building a 21st-century infrastructure,” he said. “Renewing the American spirit starts with creating jobs and economic opportunity. Our infrastructure is what ties all of these things together. The committee looks forward to working with the president and the Secretary of Transportation to improve our infrastructure and strengthen our economy.”
Other association heads weighed in on the “$1 Trillion Promise.”
“With a new president and Congress, the bipartisan leadership failures of the past now present an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to work together and provide long-term, robust investments to address the nation’s infrastructure needs,” said Brian P. McGuire, president and CEO of Associated Equipment Distributors (AED). “This evening President Trump laid out a bold vision for rebuilding America. Whether its new user fees or public-private partnerships all options must be on the table to provide these long-overdue investments.
“We as a nation must not continue to forsake our responsibility when it comes to the maintaining and improvement of our infrastructure. AED and its members are ready to work with President Trump and Congress to create economic prosperity and jobs across America,” he said.
American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President and CEO Pete Ruane issued the following statement:
“When it comes to infrastructure, strategic focus should be the key. The biggest return on investment would be found by modernizing America’s Economic Expressway – the Interstate System and its connections to the nation’s major ports, inland waterways, rail hubs, airports and pipelines. Right now it is woefully underperforming, costing every American citizen and business time and money.
“Investing in America’s Economic Expressway would create tens of thousands of jobs in every state, increase our competitiveness, and make long-term improvements to our nation’s economy,” he said.
Patrick D. Jones, executive director and CEO of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), offered the following response to Trump’s address:
“The transportation community welcomes President Trump’s vision for rebuilding our country’s highways, bridges and tunnels. Both Congress and the administration appear to have found common ground on the need to make additional transportation investments. Over the next few months as this vision evolves into detailed policy proposals and budget figures, the age-old question of how to pay for this plan can quickly become a sticking point. Talking about how we pay for infrastructure is always a difficult conversation, but we can and should be honest with the American people about the need to make bigger and smarter investments than we have in the recent past.”