- As house lawmakers begin to develop a nationwide infrastructure plan, Republican leadership has said a transportation funding bill will have to wait until spring, according to CNBC.
- The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held its first hearing and listened to testimony from businesses like FedEx and BMW addressing the country's top infrastructure needs, but House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, said an infrastructure bill, as well as one for tax reform, is dependent on passage of the next budget, estimated to come in spring of this year.
- Business leaders told the House committee that infrastructure spending should focus on existing ports, highways and bridges rather than just "shiny new objects" like high-speed rail and driverless cars, according to The Hill.
Members of the committee said they plan to work closely with the White House in hammering out a strategy, but the big question remains as to funding. President Donald Trump and his staffers have repeatedly called for significant private investment into a proposed $1 trillion plan. Ryan echoed that sentiment and told Charlie Rose in a recent interview that taxpayers could expect a $40-to-$1 private-public investment ratio and a major focus on public-private partnerships as the delivery method.
When Trump's financial advisors first floated the idea of the massive infrastructure program during the campaign, they suggested an 82% tax credit in exchange for private equity financing of revenue-generating projects. This strategy, however, has drawn fire from Democrats who say it will leave non-revenue-generating projects pushed aside. However, attorney Lee Weintraub, chair of the P3 practice at Becker & Poliakoff in Florida, told Construction Dive last month that there are other payment schemes that could make non-toll-based projects a profit possibility for developers and contractors, including project bundling and availability payments.
The Trump administration has kept infrastructure as a consistent talking point after the election and inauguration. McClatchy DC reported that Trump staffers had already compiled a list of 50 high-priority, "emergency and national security" infrastructure projects totaling about $137 billion. They have also asked the nation's governors for input. All projects on the list are reportedly critical to either national security or emergency public safety, complete with 30% of design and engineering, "shovel ready," direct employment generators and have the potential to grow U.S. manufacturing operations.