By David Bauer, senior vice president of government relations, ARTBA
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said during a Jan. 4 interview he is working with the President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team and his counterparts in the Senate on a strategy to move a series of major legislative initiatives—including an infrastructure package—before the August congressional recess.
Ryan specifically noted the infrastructure initiative “is something that President-elect Trump added to our agenda, which we are happy to do.” He suggested the infrastructure details would not be clear until later this spring.
“It’s getting Obamacare repealed and replaced,” said Ryan. “It’s doing fundamental tax reform, overhauling the entire regulatory system, which is killing jobs, secur[ing] the border, rebuilding the military and our infrastructure. All those things in one year in Congress would make this the most productive Congress in any of our lives.”
Ryan and other GOP congressional leaders were less than enthusiastic about Trump’s infrastructure plans leading up to and shortly after last year’s elections. They questioned the need to do more than the largely status quo surface transportation investment bill enacted in 2015. This week, however, Ryan offered, “I do believe we have a problem with infrastructure, and that needs to be addressed.”
Speaker Ryan’s comments come as some are openly questioning the potential for an infrastructure package to advance in 2017 or at all. His remarks reflect the opportunity we have to meaningfully address the nation’s infrastructure needs and not a guarantee. ARTBA and our allies are working to make sure any infrastructure package includes robust direct investment as well as new financing mechanisms.