White House Says P3s to Remain Infrastructure Funding Mechanism

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Tapping private capital to fund big-ticket infrastructure continues to be an ideal funding option for the White House, press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters March 9.

“I think we're looking at a … public-private partnership as a funding mechanism. There is a lot of work being done behind the scenes. And I don't want to put a timeline on that,” Spicer said, acknowledging infrastructure funding parameters would likely be debated after Congress addresses health care and tax policies.

To produce an infrastructure funding package, the White House convened a meeting March 8 with Transportation and Energy secretaries Elaine Chao and Rick Perry, U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, as well as Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Inc., Steve Roth, CEO of Vornado Realty Trust, Richard LeFrak, CEO of the LeFrak Organization, and Joshua Harris, co-founder of investment firm Apollo Global Management. The president had told Congress to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure funding bill.

In the week of March 13, the administration intends to present to Congress a fiscal 2018 budget request that is expected to outline funding systems for highway programs.

Republicans in control of Congress have yet to offer a timeline for when they would take up an infrastructure funding package. The top transportation policymaker in the House, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), said the issue is not being ignored.

“We have already begun the process for a much-needed [Federal Aviation Administration] reform bill that will maintain America’s competitiveness in aviation. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and with President Trump and Secretary Chao to build a 21st century infrastructure for America,” Shuster said in a statement his office provided to Transport Topics.