Chinese Participation in Trump Infrastructure Program Possible; Legislation Coming Soon

April 6, 2017

In a March 31 interview with Xinhua News Agency, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that President Trump would roll out his infrastructure program in the third quarter of this year.

"We are working on the outlines and possible details of the infrastructure initiative. A package will be coming out later ... in the next several months," she added, without further elaboration. She also indicated that there would be a possibility for foreign companies to become involved in the project.

However, according to The Hill, Chao briefed 45 legislators on the program today, and in an address to 52 business leaders at the White House yesterday, she indicated that legislation could be ready as soon as May. Speaking at the same meeting, President Trump said that the package will be very large and will focus on projects that can get underway soon, reported Wednesday.

"So we have to build roads. We have to build highways. We're talking about a very major infrastructure bill of a trillion dollars, perhaps more," he said. "We're going to be very strong that it has to be spent on shovels and not on other programs. If you have a job that you can't start within 90 days, wwe're not going to give you the money for it." Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, said that Trump's infrastructure program covers a wide variety of projects. "We've taken the broadest possible interpretation of infrastructure."

Chao told Xinhua that the United States "could certainly learn from other countries," adding that "there are [infrastructure] technologies and skill sets that we don't possess in the United States." President Trump has repeatedly praised the up-to-date infrastructure facilities in places like Dubai, Qatar, and China. However, Chao said that whether foreign companies would be allowed to participate in Trump's new infrastructure programs is still a "subject of discussion right now." Even if they are granted access, she added, foreign companies also need to change their old way of doing business in the United States.