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President Donald Trump last week stood in front of a banner at the Department of Transportation that read "Rebuild America’s Infrastructure" and vowed to accelerate and streamline projects across the U.S. – but can he fulfill this lofty promise?
“We are setting up a new council to help project managers navigate the bureaucratic maze,” Trump said at the event. "This council will also improve transparency by creating a new online dashboard allowing everyone to easily track major projects through every stage of the approval process.”
The speech was part of the administration's "infrastructure week," during which Trump outlined some of the ways the U.S. will invest $200 billion in infrastructure spending over 10 years – part of a larger $1 trillion plan – according to a recent report from Bloomberg.
"Trump also said Friday he would create a new White House office to 'clarify lines of authority' among agencies in the review process," according to another Bloomberg article. "The idea is similar to something the president called for in an executive order he issued after taking office, and in March, the White House convened a working group of federal agencies to target policies, regulations and statutes."
But Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., urged Trump to "name a new executive director and to make better use of the streamlining provisions passed by Congress," the article said. It quoted the senators as saying "it is perplexing that the administration has not taken full advantage of the powerful tools Congress gave it."
According to a White House fact sheet, the $200 billion in federal spending on infrastructure includes: $25 billion for rural infrastructure, $15 billion for "transformative projects" and $100 billion for “local prioritization of infrastructure needs." It didn't offer details on the remaining $60 billion.
This is a topic MDM will continue to follow. Distributors are clamoring for more infrastructure investment, with respondents to our annual Industry Outlook Survey listing Trump's ability to follow through on his infrastructure campaign promise as one their top concerns for 2017.