U.S. Markets

U.S. governors want say on Trump's infrastructure plan

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. governors are flagging hundreds of “shovel-ready” projects they regard as high-priority for President Donald Trump’s plan to fix the nation’s infrastructure.

U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Gary Masino (L) of the Sheet Metal Workers Union, Telma Mata (2nd R) of the Heat and Frost Insulators Allied Workers Local 24 and United Brotherhood of Carpenters General President Doug McCarron (R), holds a roundtable meeting with labor leaders at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Scott Pattison, executive director of the bipartisan National Governor’s Association, said on Monday his group, at the request of the White House, has assembled a list of 300 projects costing billions of dollars from 43 states and territories, with more expected to come.

“The good part from a bipartisan standpoint is there seems to be full consensus that we have a lot of infrastructure problems in the U.S., a lot of maintenance issues, also things that need building,” he said in an interview.

In his inaugural address Friday, the Republican president said the nation’s infrastructure “has fallen into disrepair and decay.”

“We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation,” Trump said.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday told reporters that “infrastructure continues to be a huge priority.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ infrastructure report card has estimated the United States needs to invest $3.6 trillion by 2020.

Pattison said while it was still early in the process, disagreements are likely over how to fund infrastructure. He added that governors want “all the tools” to be made available, including cash, municipal bonds, public-private partnerships and federal matching programs.

“One of the biggest issues that has to be faced is that the gas tax has been primarily the way in which we funded a lot of our transportation projects, and that’s a declining revenue source,” Pattison said.

Governors also want to make sure their project priorities are immune from congressional earmarking, Pattison said, adding that states have developed “robust” prioritization programs.

Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Matthew Lewis