WASHINGTON Feb 24 U.S. President Donald Trump's
campaign promise for a $1 trillion infrastructure program will
be in focus when U.S. governors gather on Friday in Washington,
D.C., with some states making wish lists of projects ranging
from a bullet train to statewide broadband internet service.
The winter meeting of the National Governors Association
running through Monday is expected to showcase rare bipartisan
agreement on the need for more federal help in upgrading roads,
bridges and airports, said Scott Pattison, the group's executive
"There's just this pent-up demand to deal with, whether it's
a crack in a dam, a bridge, whatever it is," Pattison said in a
Although there is little movement on Capitol Hill to make
Trump's infrastructure vow a reality, governors have sent the
White House a list of 428 projects they say are ready to go with
some extra federal spending.
The National Governors Association has not released the list
but checks with some states hinted at the projects.
Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown has asked for
$120 billion, saying that since the state made up 12 percent of
the U.S. economy it deserves 12 percent of Trump's $1 trillion
"We're not talking about a few million, we're talking about
tens of billions," Brown said of the infrastructure proposal
this month as he sought federal aid to deal with a leaking dam
Among California's big-ticket items is construction of a
high-speed rail system linking San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Colorado and Minnesota want help building statewide
broadband systems, with Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, a
Democrat, saying his state needs $150 million for its broadband
Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's top priority is
$122 million for interstate highway repairs. South Carolina and
Virginia want federal aid to deepen ports, among other projects.
In a letter to Trump, Republican Governor Henry McMaster
said South Carolina also needed help replacing roads and
bridges. "An appropriation of $5 billion from your
infrastructure plan will help us bridge this economic gap," he
Pattison said governors wanted a "toolbox" of financing
options, including municipal bonds, cash, public-private
partnerships and federal matching funds.
The governors are scheduled to meet with Trump on Sunday
evening and again on Monday morning.
One of the speakers at the governors' conference, Leo
Hindery, a managing partner at New York's InterMedia Partners,
will tell state executives that creating a federal
infrastructure bank is the only way to fund the hundreds of
billions of dollars needed for public works.
The United States has long been criticized for its lagging
public works spending. The American Society of Civil Engineers
has graded U.S. infrastructure at D+ and estimated the country
needs to invest $3.6 trillion by 2020.
During his campaign, Trump said he wanted action on
infrastructure in his first 100 days as president. That now
seems unlikely. He also talked about creating a tax credit to
encourage private sector investment.
Trump’s plans to create an infrastructure council have yet
to get started. Republican lawmakers have said they expect to
get White House infrastructure proposals but have given no
details or timing.
(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and James Dalgleish)