Is “Infrastructure Week” For Real This Time?

Federal leaders met and discussed a major infrastructure effort – will the issue finally take the spotlight after multiple misfires?

This week, President Trump and democratic congressional leaders met over their mutual interest in public infrastructure. The results seem positive – an agreement to focus on a wide-ranging $2 trillion plan.

From The Hill coverage:

But for a day, at least, the emphasis from Pelosi and Schumer was on what was possible with the White House, and the Speaker said both sides had decided an infrastructure deal should “be big and bold.”

Schumer said Tuesday’s meeting stood in contrast to those held before the government shutdown earlier this year, when Trump and the Democratic leaders were seen on camera bickering in the White House.

A Governing magazine contributor chimes in with a view that housing should be considered alongside transportation and water systems, the most-discussed elements of such a plan:

“An infrastructure spending package is an opportunity to respond,” Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, told the House Financial Services Committee. “Like roads and bridges, affordable housing is a long-term asset that helps communities and families thrive.”

Not all Washington players are optimistic. Most early reports note skepticism from republican legislators, many eyeing the federal deficit and fiscal posture, and wary of any spending plan that could add to the federal shortfall.

Further, from Politico‘s piece, entitled “7 Reasons Not To Buy the Infrastructure Hype,” comes a look-back at the previous offering from the Trump Administration, and whether the specifics meshed with the headlines:

When Trump rolled out his last $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan a little more than a year ago, it actually called for only $200 billion in federal dollars over a decade — money the White House said would be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget.

The balance of the eye-popping figure would have come from a variety of sources, including state and local governments. But the White House also estimated that a huge chunk of the money would come from private companies induced to put up their cash through targeted federal spending and relaxed regulations on projects.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties