Construction industry groups ramp up infrastructure lobbying efforts
- Construction industry groups, including the Associated General Contractors of America and North America's Building Trades Unions, have stepped up their lobbying efforts in order to maintain momentum and enthusiasm for President Donald Trump's infrastructure initiative, according to Reuters.
- This year, the AGC has increased its infrastructure advocacy budget from $800,000 to $1 million and has included radio interviews and visits to where the country's construction employment is underperforming as part of its infrastructure promotion campaign.
- The Trump plate of agenda items has become full with other issues like immigration, tax reform, pushing through the administration's nominee to the Supreme Court and the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, and the administration has reportedly toyed with the idea of postponing an infrastructure push until next year.
The construction industry is optimistic that Trump's administration will bring a surge in business through its proposed infrastructure spending boost, despite the lack of details revealed so far about its implementation. During an address to Congress earlier this week, Trump reiterated his infrastructure program, but he did not add new details besides the fact that it would emphasize the principles of "buy American" and "hire American."
Some construction and business groups, led by the Bipartisan Policy Council, have joined forces under the banner of the new Coalition to Modernize American Infrastructure to promote an even larger spending program to meet what they say is a $3 trillion infrastructure need in the U.S.
One of the policy hurdles the administration has yet to overcome, however, is how such a large-scale program will be funded. When Trump originally introduced his plan, it focused on revenue-generating projects that would attract private equity investment in exchange for a significant tax credit. After the election, Democrats said they would back such an ambitious construction program only if it included significant federal spending. Republicans pushed back, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, indicated that the initiative the GOP had in mind was something along the lines of a $40-to-$1, private-public spending formula.
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