By Rich Juliano, senior vice president and managing director of contractors and P3 divisions, ARTBA
Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, who has advocated for significant new infrastructure investment throughout his campaign, provided more detail in a Fox Business Network interview on Aug. 2. Appearing on “Varney & Co.,” Trump dismissed as inadequate the proposal from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, in which she plans to add $250 billion in new infrastructure investment and provide $25 billion for capitalization of a new national infrastructure bank. Trump said the nation needs to invest “at least double her numbers, and you’re going to really need more than that.” The program’s host, Stuart Varney, characterized Trump’s proposal as totaling $800 billion to $1 trillion, numbers the candidate did not dispute.
Trump said his program would utilize infrastructure bonds, taking advantage of current low interest rates and the willingness of “citizens” and others to invest in a fund for that purpose. In expressing the need for this new investment, Trump cited “warning charts” listing “many, many bridges that are in danger of falling.” (See ARTBA’s third annual report on structurally deficient bridges.) He did not indicate which other types of infrastructure projects would be included in his plan, although in other statements and writings, Trump has referenced the need to improve airports, roads, water tunnels, power grids and the rail system.
Trump also reiterated that his background in real estate development makes him uniquely qualified to lead this effort. “Nobody knows construction better than [me]. I have great relationships with the people who are going to do the work…” He also said the current system for building public works “inspires cost overruns,” which is consistent with a comment last year in which he promised to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure “on time, on budget, way below cost, way below what anyone ever thought. I look at the roads being built all over the country, and I say I can build those things for one-third.”
ARTBA has been compiling and updating a detailed report on the presidential candidates’ transportation positions throughout the campaign. The latest edition adds a recap of the Trump interview, as well as statements and platform planks from the recent party convention, and the records of the vice presidential nominees. In addition, ARTBA will continue providing policy information to national campaigns and political committees through the Nov. 8 election and during the presidential transition afterward.