President Trump and DJ Gribbin, left, a long-time ARTBA Board of Directors member now working for the administration, discussed how regulations slow highway construction. Watch the video.

By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

In separate April 4 remarks to builders and other business CEOs, President Donald Trump vowed to continue cutting regulations while pressing forward with “a very major infrastructure bill of $1 trillion—perhaps even more.”

Trump told the North America’s Building Trades Unions National Legislative Conference that the expedited environmental reviews he has ordered since taking office in January will speed infrastructure, environmental and energy projects across the country.

“With your help, we can rebuild our country’s bridges, airports, seaports, and water systems,” he said.

In remarks to a White House-organized town hall meeting for CEOs, Trump called to the stage DJ Gribbin, the 2011 ARTBA P3 division president and a long-time member of the association’s Board of Directors, now working as the president’s special assistant for infrastructure policy. Gribbin  held up a chart of regulations taller than himself as Trump explained how building a highway can take up to 20 years and require the approval of more than a dozen agencies.

Trump also characterized the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus program as being used on social programs. “I mean, to this day, I haven’t heard of anything that’s been built,” he said.

The money was handed to the states, which many substituted the funds for their own planned spending on roads and bridges, diluting the potential additive impacts.

Trump said he will be sure money in his infrastructure plan “has to be spent on shovels, not on other programs. … if you have a job that you can’t start within 90 days, we’re not going to give you the money for it.”

Trump began touting $1 trillion of infrastructure investment during last year’s presidential campaign. The timetable for rolling out a detailed proposal has ranged from as soon as this spring to later in the fall. But his desire to build, coupled with congressional calls for major tax reform, offer an important opportunity for a permanent revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund.

ARTBA will continue to push the White House and Capitol Hill for an infrastructure package and Highway Trust Fund fix. ARTBA members can help by attending the May 16-18 Federal Issues Program and Transportation Construction Coalition Fly-In, and speaking with their elected representatives.