Republican Leadership indicated that a massive infrastructure plan may not be the first order of business when President-elect Donald Trump takes office, despite campaign promises that a $1 trillion infrastructure package would be delivered within his first 100 days.
In outlining the GOP’s 200-day agenda on talk radio Jan. 4, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said lawmakers initially would focus on repealing Obamacare, overhauling the tax code and easing regulations. An infrastructure package would likely be addressed in the spring budget, he said.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) expressed similar sentiments during an interview with the Washington, D.C.,-based political newspaper The Hill, saying Congress will spend the early part of the year focusing on finding a way to pay for the infrastructure package, but that a package is unlikely to materialize before April.
In addressing questions about how such an infrastructure package would be paid for, Rep. Ryan reiterated that funding would rely heavily on private-sector investment.
During his campaign, Trump spoke at a high level about infrastructure spending saying it would focus on tax credits and private sector financing – a funding strategy that could lead to inefficient and counter-productive revenue schemes such as tolling and rest area commercialization.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer this week signaled that Democrats would oppose such efforts, calling for more direct spending and saying that a program of tax credits won’t get the job done.
The incoming Administration’s focus on private sector investment makes 2017 a pivotal year for NATSO members to attend NATSO’s Annual Day on Capitol Hill, scheduled to be held May 15-17. During in-person meetings with elected officials, NATSO members will have an opportunity to tell their lawmakers first-hand how tolls and rest area commercialization would hurt their businesses and local communities.
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