President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan will have to wait patiently in line behind tax reform before it gets its day in Congress, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. In the meantime, tax reform could drive a funding bump for the National Highway Trust Fund, which doesn’t have a dedicated funding source beyond 2020.
Specifics surrounding the infrastructure plan and how to pay for it continue to be difficult to come by. In the original plan, only $200 billion of the proposed $1 trillion would come from federal funds. The remaining $800 billion would be provided by states, localities and the private sector over the next 10 years. But at a recent meeting with lawmakers, Trump called public-private-partnerships (P3s) “more trouble than their worth.” Meanwhile, Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee wrote Secretary Chao requesting an update on the infrastructure plan.
“We always expected tax reform to come before infrastructure in Congress, and we’re keeping a close eye on how these two major initiatives may intersect when it comes to priorities and compromises on both sides of the aisle,” said Charles Kolling, Jr., Senior Principal of Buchanan’s Government Relations group. “Despite President Trump’s recent comments, P3s are a core element of his initial infrastructure plan, and we expect the private sector to play a key role in infrastructure initiatives.”