Now that a 2018 spending bill with a $21-billion hike for infrastructure programs is on the books, it looks like further public-works legislating will come in targeted bills, not a wide-ranging one.
Joung Lee, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials policy director, says approving $200 billion in federal funds, as President Trump proposed in his $1.5-trillion plan, won’t be easy before the August recess. “After that,” Lee adds, “it’s hard to envision anything of significance happening towards the midterm elections.” Steve Hall, American Council of Engineering Companies vice president for government affairs, says, “The narrative that’s emerging” is that there won’t be a comprehensive infrastructure bill. Hall adds, “There’s going to be multiple initiatives that really could form a larger infrastructure agenda. And it may extend well beyond this year.”
Those “multiple initiatives” may number just two: an aviation reauthorization, including airport construction grants, and a water-resources bill authorizing Corps of Engineers civil-works projects.
A senior Trump administration official said on March 29 that, instead of pushing for a big infrastructure package, “it makes more sense … for us to tack on things that the president cares about” to other bills Congress may move.