- A working group to explore federal infrastructure reauthorization is expected to form in spring 2019
- The administration is reaching out to Congressional Republican and Democratic leaders to set the stage for further debate
- Congress urged not to “rubberstamp” infrastructure bills
The Trump administration is poised for a “robust” debate about the reauthorization of federal infrastructure spending in Congress this coming spring.
James Ray, special adviser for infrastructure to US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said during the CG/LA Infrastructure Leadership Forum said that a working group that will take a closer look at infrastructure reauthorization will be formalized by that time. He added that the administration will work to advance the conversation, as infrastructure remains a key issue for the White House.
“We in the administration stand ready to pivot in any direction necessary to drive the debate forward in the best ways we can,” he added.
Ray noted that, prior to the formation of the working group, the administration will reach out to Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress to set the stage for future infrastructure discussions.
Democrats, according to multiple news outlets, are slated to pursue a spending measure for roads, bridges and other public works if they take control of the house after the November 6 midterm elections. Trump, in an October 17 interview said that he expects negotiations around infrastructure to begin following the midterms.
“We think that’s going to be an easy one,” he said.
“We in the administration stand ready to pivot in any direction necessary to drive the debate forward in the best ways we can.”
— James Ray, special adviser for infrastructure to US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao
The Pace of Technology
Ray, while speaking at the CG/LA event noted that, Congress must consider the role of new technologies such as autonomous car ridesharing and Uber Elevate, as well as consumers growing interest in mobility-as-a-service as the body develops an infrastructure policy. He added that the body must also take time to conduct a thorough review of new technologies to determine whether they meet the nation’s infrastructure needs.
“If we send something to Congress, and it is rubberstamped and passed right away then we haven’t done our job driving the issue forward,” Ray said. “The pace of change is moving rapidly, but no faster than customer expectations.”