Here's what industries think of Trump's infrastructure plan
Editor's Note: The following post has been updated to reflect the response of the American Association of Port Authorities, which Supply Chain Dive received after publishing this story.
- Monday morning, President Trump released the much-anticipated infrastructure bill, clocking in at $1.5 trillion. But the federal government is only committing to providing $200 billion — the rest of the funding is left up to the states and private sector.
- Industries rapidly responded to the bill, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (here), the American Trucking Associations (ATA) (here), the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) and the Coalition for the Northeast Corridor.
- Despite positive forward-looking statements from the freight industries prior to the plan's release, the subsequent reactions are decidedly more ambiguous and muted, likely because the financial weight of the plan will fall on the private sector.
Supply chain managers have been optimistic about a new infrastructure plan, but it appears that not all of their interests are met in this first draft in the way they anticipated.
In a statement, the ATA called the new plan a kickoff to "debate," suggesting they're hopeful for future changes. ATA repeated their support for the Build America Fund, calling it the "most efficient, conservative and viable approach to funding infrastructure."
Regarding Trump's plan to allow states to toll interstates more freely and heavily, the ATA responded: "To be clear, new tolling on existing interstates is a non-starter for our industry. Tolls are ineffective and wasteful, with as much as 33% of revenue being wasted on administrative and overhead costs."
Furthermore, there was no mention of the Highway Trust Fund in the plan, another point of contention for the ATA, which has clamored for funding for the Highway Trust Fund for quite some time now: "To be blunt, America is hurtling toward a highway funding cliff. If we continue on this trajectory, the motoring public, the American taxpayer and future generations are going to pay a very steep and unacceptable price. Any infrastructure funding proposal that does not address this situation is unacceptable."
The Chamber's and AAPA's responses to the bill weremore ambiguous. The Chamber supports the ATA's call for a gas tax, but in its official response to the plan, stated: "We look forward to working with the administration" and "America’s infrastructure needs are significant and there’s a lot of work ahead."
The AAPA focused on the fact that we finally have an infrastructure plan, but didn't offer any commentary as to whether it approved or disapproved of the specifics. Instead, the AAPA opted for a more generic statement that approved of the infrastructure initiative as opposed to the detailed plan: "We are encouraged by this important step toward modernization that will support our manufacturers, exporters, farmers and employees who count on a strong national infrastructure to keep America moving."
Lastly, the Coalition for the Northeast Rail Corridor called for federal resources to help rebuild crumbling railways in the Northeast Corridor. The statement lauded Trump's initiative to tackle infrastructure, but also noted that "the future is still unclear for the Northeast Corridor rail system, which carries more than 820,000 riders per day but remains in dire need of federal investment to fix crumbling infrastructure and advance projects that have been stalled for years."
The coalition's statement underscores concern that, under Trump's new plan, states and businesses will have to submit applications in order to win federal funds for infrastructure projects. Rebuilding infrastructure now has a competitive edge, and everyone wants their voice and needs heard.
Overall, industries appear dissatisfied with the package, given its heavy reliance on the private sector and nebulous guidance for rebuilding and repairing the nation's infrastructure. Perhaps businesses were expecting more federal involvement; rather, Trump's plan gives them permission — and not as much funding — to tackle the enormous infrastructure problem.
- White House Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America
- Construction Dive President Trump outlines $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill
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