From Infra Americas News:
Author: Eugene Gilligan
The Trump administration has said that “all viable options,” including P3s, are still on the table for infrastructure policy. This follows a weekend meeting with Republican congressional leaders in which Trump reportedly cast doubt on using the structure.
Trump reportedly said at the meeting that he might not rely on P3s for his infrastructure plans, according to multiple media sources. Trump advisor Gary Cohn, however, presented an infrastructure plan at the same meeting that did include P3s, the reports said.
A White House spokesperson told Inframation that the administration will continue to consider all viable options. “P3s have been part of the administration’s research into generating the trillion dollar infrastructure investment that the president has promised, but they are certainly not the silver bullet for all our nation’s infrastructure problems,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said that Trump’s “infrastructure vision is very clear” and is based on two major goals: “leveraging federal funds as efficiently as possible in order to generate over USD 1trn in infrastructure investment and expediting the burdensome and lengthy permitting process.” Cohn’s presentation at the meeting outlined that vision, the spokesperson added.
“I’m certain that the president is very committed to infrastructure, but we have to be careful not to read too much into every press conference and statement,” said Marcus Lemon, chair of the infrastructure and P3 practice at Polsinell. “We have to be patient, and see what’s in the final bill that comes out of reconciliation like we did for the tax bill. I believe the president will propose a major package that builds upon successful programs like TIFIA, but one that also incentivizes states and localities to put skin in the game.”
Additionally, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) posted on Twitter on 4 January that he will soon introduce legislation that would divert funding earmarked for military aid in Pakistan towards infrastructure funding in the US.
The federal government announced on 4 January that it was suspending at least USD 900m in security aid to Pakistan due to its inaction against the Taliban. Trump tweeted support for Paul’s idea.
Calls to Paul’s office seeking comment were not returned by press time.
Lemon said he applauds Paul’s idea, adding that a one-time infusion of cash would be helpful as part of a bigger package. However, finding a long-term, sustainable funding source should also be a goal of any extended conversation about infrastructure funding, he noted. “Eventually we have to solve the long-term funding issue.”
Trump has proposed using USD 200m in federal funds to incentivize USD 1tn in infrastructure investment over ten years, including private investment.
However, in a September 2017 meeting with members of the House of Representatives, he raised doubts about incorporating P3s into his infrastructure plan.