January 17, 2017 6:00 PM, EST

VP-Elect Mike Pence Tells Mayors to Expect ‘Big’ Infrastructure Bill

Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics

WASHINGTON — The country’s next vice president arrived at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ annual meeting Jan. 17 to deliver a message from, who else, President-elect Donald Trump.

“We’re going to do an infrastructure bill, and it’s going to be big,” Vice President-elect Mike Pence told the hundreds of mayors meeting in downtown Washington Jan. 17, three days before Trump is sworn-in as the country’s 45th president.

“It’ll have the funding to help communities and states all across America meet the needs that face too many communities and often times stifle growth,” Pence added, after acknowledging mayors often hear from constituents about potholes and dilapidated structures. 

The mayors cheered loudly the promise of a “big” infrastructure package coming from the Trump team. Earlier in the day, the Conference of Mayors president and vice president, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett (R) and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D), respectively, called on the Trump administration to partner with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill to advance a meaningful transportation funding bill.

Specifically, Cornett and Landrieu said mayors eagerly await massive funding boosts to help their cities cover the costs of big-scale infrastructure projects. As Cornett told reporters, “We’re ready to go.”

Pence did not say when to expect such a “big” infrastructure measure. Nor did he lay out specific funding proposals that would finance projects.

Trump promised to unveil a bill within his first 100 days in office that would aim to invest $1 trillion over 10 years by providing tax credits to investors. Trump’s transportation designee, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, told senators last week the administration would assemble a task force that would identify funding proposals for the country’s transportation system. She argued before a Senate panel public-private partnerships are ideal funding vehicles for infrastructure projects.

But, whenever a Trump-led infrastructure proposal reaches the halls of Congress, it will be scrutinized by Democrats in both chambers. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi pledged to support the Trump plan as long as “it’s not a tax break at the high end disguised as an infrastructure bill.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) shares Pelosi’s concern.