President Trump has appointed a new infrastructure adviser, Marcus Lemon, to the Department of Housing and Urban Development amid his continued push for infrastructure spending as the nation works through the coronavirus pandemic. In Congress, bipartisan support continues to grow for infrastructure investment, offering a unique opportunity for Washington to get meaningful legislation passed. When discussing future stimulus packages at a White House briefing President Trump said, “Infrastructure is going to be a big part,” he continued, “We have to rebuild our country.”
Attorney Marcus Lemon will serve as the senior adviser for infrastructure and public-private partnerships. His portfolio will include infrastructure and regulatory reform. Lemon has relevant experience as the previous chief counsel at the Federal Highway Administration from 2007 to 2009. Furthermore, Lemon has worked with the president before, having served as the director of the transportation and infrastructure team during the 2016 presidential transition.
As Congress continues to pass historic aid packages to help battle COVID-19, infrastructure projects can provide another timely solution as they can create thousands of shovel-ready jobs. These jobs would offer a welcome relief, as President Trump’s economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on Tuesday the unemployment rate in the United States could spike to between 16% and 20% by June. That would be a staggering increase from March’s levels of 4.4% and would mark the highest unemployment since the 1930s.
The energy industry, specifically, can help. As Craig Stevens, spokesperson for Grow America’s Infrastructure Now, wrote in a recent op-ed for Morning Consult:
“Energy projects such as pipelines, power plants, refineries and export terminals are capital-intensive, multiyear projects that support tens of thousands of high-skilled jobs. Projects such as the Permian Highway natural gas pipeline in Texas, the Line 3 pipeline replacement in Minnesota, and the optimization of the Dakota Access Pipeline in the Midwest all stand to provide significant benefits in a time when economic investment is most-needed.”
There is no question: America’s infrastructure desperately needs updating. It received an abysmal D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers’ on its latest report card. Providing much-needed employment for Americans when they need it most while also completing critical infrastructure updates across the country will benefit all Americans.