While Congress continues to wrestle with health care and seems poised to tackle tax reform, President Trump this week kept infrastructure in the conversation by issuing an executive order that establishes a 15-member Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure.
According to the executive order, the council will study the scope and effectiveness of federal infrastructure funding, as well as the support, and delivery of infrastructure projects. The council's infrastructure focus will extend beyond transportation to include renewable energy, electricity transmission, broadband, and pipelines.
The council membership will represent a broad range of infrastructure interests including those related to real estate, finance, construction, communications and technology, and transportation and logistics. Also included will be members from labor, environmental policy, and regional and local economic development.
Among the tasks set out for the council, the executive order directs that a report be sent to the president making recommendations on prioritizing infrastructure needs, accelerating pre-construction approval processes, and developing funding and financing options capable of generating new infrastructure investment over the next 10 years.
The report will also identify methods to increase public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects; and describe best practices in and opportunities to improve procurement methods, grant procedures, and infrastructure delivery systems.
There was no additional information on when the advisory council members will be announced or when the council will begin meeting.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and four other members of President Trump's Cabinet appeared March 14 at a Senate hearing to help spur Congress to take up administration proposals to spur infrastructure investment.
March 16, 2018
A new advertising campaign by two transportation stakeholder groups makes the point that congestion imposes heavy costs on the public, as the groups try to build support for a new infrastructure investment package and a permanent fix for the Highway Trust Fund.
Emergency officials reported early March 16 that at least six people had died in the collapse of a new pedestrian bridge at Florida International University in Sweetwater, outside Miami, as they continued to remove bodies from the wreckage.