Eno Center President: States ‘Not Waiting for Washington to Act’ on Infrastructure

States will continue to adopt funding programs meant to pay for big-ticket infrastructure projects amid federal inaction on a long-term plan, the chief of the Eno Center for Transportation said Jan. 27.

“As we have this conversation on the national level, and as we have these big proposals — very ambitious, very far-reaching — for infrastructure at the national level, cities, states and metropolitan areas and the profit and nonprofit sectors they are working with, are not waiting around for Washington to act,” Robert Puentes, Eno’s president and CEO, said at an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation that was webcast.

“They’re going ahead and doing their own things,” Puentes added, noting several states have recently increased fuel taxes to pay for highway maintenance projects.

While still critical of congressional leaders, a few state officials expressed optimism that the Trump administration would address transportation funding concerns.

At the State of the States address on Jan. 25 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), vice chairman of the National Governors Association, praised the White House for a recent executive order aimed at expediting environmental reviews for infrastructure projects. The address was broadcast via C-SPAN.

“I saw that as very good news in terms of federal review of projects to get them going,” Sandoval said. “I know in my state, it will delay a project four to six years with regard to the environmental aspects.”

State leaders have compiled a list of 50 infrastructure projects they would like the Trump transportation team to focus on. The projects include the Brent Spence Bridge in Ohio, a segment of Interstate 95 in North Carolina, I-25 in Colorado, the Gordie Howe International Bridge in Michigan, and the Arlington Memorial Bridge that connects Virginia with the District of Columbia, according to a copy of the list obtained by Transport Topics.

At their policy retreat this week, congressional Republican leaders indicated advancing a long-term infrastructure plan was not on their list of top priorities for this year.

Trump has been calling for providing tax credits for the private sector to achieve a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure over 10 years.