President Donald Trump has quickly followed through on his campaign promise to end years of neglect and prioritize a major overhaul of the nation’s aging infrastructure. After just three days on the job, President Trump invited the leaders of some of the nation’s top building and construction unions to the White House to discuss this monumental task.
During the discussion, President Trump challenged union heads during the meeting to identify infrastructure development that isn’t dependent on federal funding but stalled in the regulatory approval process. This should come as no surprise as the president has frequently touted the use of public-private partnerships as a way to drive billions of dollars into major infrastructure project.
As the president soon found out, ask and you shall receive:
In mid-February, North America’s Building Trades Unions delivered a wish list of 26 projects that require little to no federal funding yet amount to tens of billions in critical infrastructure upgrades. Included in the list is more than $80 billion worth of water and wind projects, energy transmission lines and pipelines across the country.
The Building Trades highlight a number of key pipeline projects like the Mariner East 2 and Atlantic Sunrise pipelines which are needed to move stranded natural gas to key domestic markets along the Eastern Seaboard. But that’s not all, the umbrella group called on the Trump administration to greenlight a proposed 287 megawatt solar photovoltaic power generating facility in the Mojave Desert and a $1.6 billion transmission line designed to deliver hydro power from Canada to New Hampshire.
These projects will not only satisfy infrastructure redevelopment needs, but also each create thousands of jobs for skilled workers like pipe fitters, welders, and boilermakers.
“They want to use this as an economic development tool,” said Sean McGarvey, president of the North American Building Trades Unions, “not just to refurbish the infrastructure, but to use it as a tool to create jobs.”
Private sector investment in new, expanded and upgraded infrastructure requires a strong degree of regulatory certainty, which President Trump recognizes and committed to as part of his effort to streamline the approval process for projects like those highlighted by the Building Trades.