During President Trump’s State of the Union address, the construction industry — and the nation — got a brief look at the scope of his long-awaited $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, but Congress and the White House must still hammer out the details of that proposal.
Construction Dive asked industry leaders to weigh in on what they would like to see in a major, national infrastructure initiative —
Michael Burke, AECOM:
We’re looking for Congress to approve a plan that advances economic growth and delivers reliable, modernized infrastructure. We can’t have an ‘America First’ policy if infrastructure is last. Inaction is no longer an option. Although incentivizing private investment and expediting permitting approval are important pillars to a successful infrastructure development plan, Congress must ultimately come up with a long-term solution to shore up federal trust funds that support highways, inland waterways and ports.
Derya Thompson, Thornton Tomasetti’s Weidlinger Transportation:
We are already seeing big changes in the procurement and delivery of transportation projects and greater collaboration between local and state governments. A united group effort by local, state and federal governments and a commitment to work collaboratively to address the issues would definitely accelerate the process, convince the private sector to realize this massive plan and allow for the successful and accelerated modernization of this country’s infrastructure.
David Crane, Autodesk:
Policy discussions should include ways to save time on projects, reduce errors, and cut waste to maximize taxpayer dollars — more infrastructure, better infrastructure, with lower cost. We can use technology developed in the U.S. to digitize design and construction, expanding on policies and practices already in place at the General Services Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Veterans Administration. These agencies use 3-D modeling processes when building new structures or renovating existing ones. MAP-21, signed into law in 2012, included incentives for using advanced technologies, such as 3D modeling, in transportation projects.
William Eliopoulos, Rutan & Tucker:
P3 Industry leaders will be looking at how the new infrastructure legislation provides funding and financing incentives and guarantees for P3 infrastructure development at the state and local levels. TIFIA and WIFIA are existing successful federal programs that provide such incentives and guarantees to allow state and local agencies to sponsor P3 transportation and water infrastructure projects using lower-cost financing rather than purely private financing. Will Congress expand these programs and extend them to P3 projects for airports, rail, and other types of projects?
Source: Construction Dive