Pavement Preservation Journal - Winter 2017 - 27
HOW FP 2 WORKS FOR YOU
in Line Behind Tax Reform
BY TRACY D. TAYLOR
complex legislative effort that will likely be
underway as you read this article.
INFRASTRUCTURE IN EARLY 2018?
Where does this leave a federal infrastructure package? It remains in line behind tax
reform, as the timing for likely action slips
to early 2018.
But infrastructure has not disappeared
from the immediate Washington agenda.
Even as Congress struggled with health
care and turned to tax legislation, activity
laying the groundwork for an infrastructure
* On Aug. 15, the President signed an
executive order (E.O.) to limit the time
required for environmental reviews and
permitting for "new major infrastructure
projects". Among other directives, the
E.O. provides for the designation of a
single "lead federal agency" for major
projects. Read the Presidential Executive
Order on Establishing Discipline and
Accountability in the Environmental
Review and Permitting Process for
Infrastructure at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/08/15/
IMAGE CREDIT: WHITE HOUSE PRESS OFFICE
s reported in the Summer 2017
Pavement Preservation Journal,
the president and Congress
spent much of the administration's first 100 days focused on efforts
to repeal and replace the Affordable Care
Repeated attempts to move an ACArepeal bill through the Senate consumed
a significant portion of the next 150 days,
culminating with the announcement on
Sept. 26 that the Senate would not vote on
a revised version of the legislation.
The administration and Republican congressional leadership immediately pivoted
to tax reform on Sept. 27, with the release of
a "framework" outlining key elements and
principles. This proposal calls for reductions in individual and corporate tax rates,
as well as repeal of the estate tax and the
Alternative Minimum Tax.
Republicans are acutely aware of the
need for success in tax reform after the
failure to enact health care legislation.
To that end, the White House, Senate
Finance Committee, and House Ways and
Means Committee jointly produced and
released the Sept. 27 framework. This gives
Congress a common starting point on a
On Aug. 15, President Trump gives statement on environmental streamlining of infrastructure projects
in advance of his executive order; flanking him are director of the National Economic Council and
chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, and Secretary of
Transportation Elaine Chao
On Sept. 27, Secretary of Transportation
Elaine Chao spoke on regulatory reform
efforts targeting infrastructure. In her
remarks at the American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials (AASHTO) annual meeting in
Phoenix she described a number of
administration's initiatives, including a
pending solicitation of applications for
the Interstate System Reconstruction and
Rehabilitation Pilot Program.
* Senate Democrats prodded Chao and
the administration on their past promises
to release an infrastructure proposal.
In a letter to Chao sent on Sept. 28, the
Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee Democrats asked her "to
share the administration's long-awaited
The Democrats' letter followed an
op-ed by the committee's chairman,
John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) that declared
"President Trump and Members of
Congress agree on the importance
of working together to fix America's
infrastructure." Barrasso also said he
is "committed to passing infrastructure
legislation that will improve lives, protect
families and strengthen the economy."
* And in September and October, the
House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee continued a series of hearings
on Building a 21st Century Infrastructure
for America. You may read written testimony and view video of the hearings at
As this preliminary activity continues,
the outlines of an eventual package remain
the same: $1 trillion in public and private
funding for a range of assets, including
roads, aviation, rail and water.
During this process, our industry must
continue to highlight the importance of
infrastructure investment, and the critical role of pavement preservation and
Taylor is principal at FP 2's legislative counsel, Williams & Jensen PLLC.
Winter 2017 | PAVEMENT PRESERVATION JOURNAL