A potential $2 trillion infrastructure spending package in the works following a White House meeting between President Trump and Congressional Democratic leadership. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has expressed its support for the announced bipartisan agreement to pursue the infrastructure package, described as “big and bold.”
The next main hurdle facing such a package is how to pay for it, which will be the subject of a follow-up meeting. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer left the White House saying they will meet with the President again in May to talk about the revenue source for the $2 trillion package aimed at overhauling the nation’s roads, bridges, waterways, and broadband.
Schumer said “there was goodwill” on both sides toward developing a major piece of legislation. “We agreed on a number. This was a very, very good start… We hope it will go to a constructive conclusion,” Schumer told reporters.
Infrastructure is the rare public policy issue that unites voters across the ideological spectrum. Yet financing, and the possibility of tax increases, has been a chief stumbling block for decades in efforts to build more roads, bridges and other public works.
“The United States has not come even close to properly investing in infrastructure for many years,” the president said in a statement following the meeting. “We have to invest in this country’s future and bring our infrastructure to a level better than it has ever been before.”
“We came to this meeting with an understanding that there is great need in our country for building our infrastructure, for the recognition that we stand in a pivotal place in terms of building infrastructure for the future,” said Speaker Pelosi. “We cannot ignore the needs of the American people as we go forward,” she said.
AASHTO made the following statement in support of the bipartisan plan: “We applaud the bipartisan acknowledgment that America’s transportation system needs additional federal investment,” said Jim Tymon, AASHTO executive director. “The people and businesses who rely on our nation’s multimodal transportation network understand that despite the best efforts of state departments of transportation and their local and regional counterparts, they cannot keep up with growing demand and a deepening backlog of maintenance. We welcome the announced plan to pursue additional federal investment and we look forward to working with Congress and the White House on legislation to shore up the Highway Trust Fund and to get America moving again.”