Trying to Make America a Little Better (New York Times, August 6, 2017)
One of the few practical job-building promises of the Trump presidential campaign — a $1 trillion investment in repairing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure — is turning out to be as hollow as a pothole. Mr. Trump’s vow to push for passage of the plan in the first 100 days of his presidency is sliding off the calendar amid the daily chaos of his incumbency and the Republican obsession with crippling Obamacare.
Infrastructure repair should be a bipartisan no-brainer. But Republican lawmakers now concede that a fully detailed plan might not surface from the administration until next year, if ever. The White House heightened the sense of flatlining last month in announcing creation of a 15-member infrastructure study commission that will have until the end of 2018 to work on advisory proposals.
Senate Blocks Trump Recess Appointments; Funding Battle in Fall (BNA, August 4, 2017)
The Senate moved to block President Donald Trump from making key appointments during its summer recess, after wrapping up action until September by confirming dozens of presidential nominees.
Although Chao was among the first of the Cabinet officers to be confirmed in January, McConnell’s list of DOT nominees ready for confirmation before the recess was small. Besides Buzby, McConnell was only able to get confirmation of Robert Sumwalt III to serve as a member and chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
Infrastructure Borrowing Drops as U.S. States Await Trump Plan Details (Reuters/NYT, August 7, 2017)
…the administration has produced few details on the future of federal infrastructure funding, one reason why state and municipal governments have issued fewer bonds to improve roads, water systems and other projects so far in 2017.
Through July, new municipal deals to fund transportation, utilities and power projects totaled $50.7 billion, down 19.4 percent from the same period last year, according to an analysis of Thomson Reuters data.
Why Canada needs continued investment in transportation infrastructure (Globe and Mail, August 6, 2017)
‘Not since Sir John A. Macdonald’s National Policy in the 1870s has Canada had such an opportunity to build such a monumental infrastructure project with the potential to transform the country’s economy.”
That quote, from Senator David Tkachuk (chair of the Senate standing committee on banking, trade and commerce), is taken from a June 21 report in which the Senate recommends federal government support for an in-depth research program on the Canadian Northern Corridor concept.
US transportation infrastructure to end 2017 on high note (ConstructionDive, July 20, 2017)
Despite enthusiasm for public-private partnerships in some quarters, state and local governments remain hesitant to explore the structure for infrastructure projects due to the lack of funding sources and misconceptions about how P3s work. Most public agencies will continue to finance such projects through traditional lending mechanisms.
…the focus on transportation infrastructure short-changes the flexibility and benefit of the P3 model, which can be used to develop and operate many types of infrastructure, including social infrastructure.