By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA
President Donald Trump emphasized the job-creating benefits of building new roads, bridges and other infrastructure during a March 29 campaign-style speech to union builders in Richland, Ohio. He also highlighted the positive impact of his efforts to reduce regulatory burdens and accelerate infrastructure permitting and pledged to continue this push.
“I’ve asked Republicans and Democrats in Congress to come together and deliver the biggest and boldest infrastructure plan in the last half-century,” Trump said. “I don’t think you’re going to get Democrat support very much. And you’ll probably have to wait till after the election, which isn’t so long down the road. But we’re going to get this infrastructure going.”
Trump said the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimates that his proposed 10-year, $1.5 trillion infrastructure investment program would generate up to 414,000 more construction jobs “almost immediately.”
Such jobs pay workers without any college education median hourly wages that are 14 percent higher than other occupations; while many skilled trade jobs often involved in infrastructure work provide a wage premium of 32 percent, according to a White House statement.
Trump said he wants to see more apprenticeship programs and vocational training, instead of two-year community colleges, to build this workforce.
Trump added that his infrastructure package “can be passed in one bill or in a series of measures.” Other senior administration and congressional leaders have made similar observations in recent days.
“So we see quite a bit of movement on Capitol Hill right now on different elements of the president’s plan,” an administration official told Politico March 28. “So I think the odds that pieces of this pass this year are very, very high. I think if you think of, ‘Will we get the entire bill through this year?’–that is more of a stretch.”
Trump said, “What matters is that we get the job done.”