Clinton, Trump on transportation infrastructure

By |  October 24, 2016

The rallying cry is etched in all of our minds by now.

“We’re going to build a wall, and Mexico is going to pay for it,” says Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, time and time again.

Whether or not the United States erects a wall along the Mexican border – let alone convinces Mexico to pay for it – is still to be determined. Regardless, the wall has undoubtedly been a signature theme of Trump’s campaign. And although the wall is largely an issue about illegal immigration and national security, it is very much a transportation infrastructure issue, too.

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., an investment research firm, produced a report detailing the aggregate producers that would likely benefit from the so-called “Trump Wall.” According to Bloomberg, which offers a breakdown of the report, Cemex SAB, the largest cement maker in the Americas, would be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Trump’s plan. CalPortland Co., Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua SAB, Martin Marietta Materials Inc. and Vulcan Materials Co. would also likely benefit from the project, which would demand construction materials from the border region.

“As ludicrous as The Trump Wall project sounds, to us at least, it represents a huge opportunity for those companies involved in its construction,” writes Phil Roseberg, along with other Bernstein analysts, in the report. “Despite arguments concerning which government will pay for construction, the large quantities of materials required may necessitate procurement from both sides of the border.”

In addition to the wall itself, Bernstein analysts write that another opportunity for producers related to the wall is road building. Roads leading to the wall would have to be built so construction materials could easily be delivered, the firm says.

“It is not economically feasible to transport heavy building materials over large distances,” write the Bernstein analysts. “As such, it is the companies with production facilities closest to the border that stand to gain the most as suppliers to The Trump Wall project.”

The firm adds that the planning and land acquisition required for the project would take one to two years, with another two years required for construction.

Candidate proposals



Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, hasn’t pledged to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and have Mexico pay for it, but she has pledged to send Congress a comprehensive infrastructure proposal in her first term.

According to the August 2016 edition of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) “Special Report: The Presidential Candidates on Transportation,” Clinton released a five-year proposal in November 2015 that would increase the federal infrastructure investment by $275 billion. Specifically, Clinton’s plan calls for increasing the direct public investment in infrastructure improvement by $250 billion over five years, ARTBA reports.

In addition, Clinton’s proposal calls for creating a national infrastructure bank to leverage $25 billion in federal funds to support up to $225 billion in direct loans, loan guarantees and other forms of credit enhancement.

“We will start working immediately because I want to get this issue behind us,” says Clinton, who has reportedly called her plan “the biggest infrastructure investment since Dwight Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System.”

Like Clinton, Trump has also pledged to increase infrastructure spending. Trump, however, has indicated he would dedicate more money to infrastructure than Clinton.

“We are going to rebuild our infrastructure,” Trump says in an interview on Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co.,” according to ARTBA. “And, by the way, [Clinton’s] numbers [are] a fraction of what we’re talking about. We need much more money than that to rebuild our infrastructure, our roads,” Trump says.

“I would say at least double her numbers, and you’re going to really need more than that,” Trump adds. “We have bridges that are falling down. … I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the warning charts, but we have many bridges that are in danger of falling. They’re old, they haven’t been fixed.”

According to ARTBA, Trump reportedly says the people would contribute to a fund supporting the rebuilding effort.

“These would be sold as bonds, so we would do infrastructure bonds from the United States,” Trump says.

Other races to watch

Although the presidential race has commanded most of the spotlight related to Election Day, 34 Senate seats are also up for grabs along with all 435 House seats.

Twenty-four of the 34 Senate seats available are Republican held. Democrats hold the other 10. Republicans currently control the Senate, but Democrats can regain control this fall by netting five seats.

The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) has supported candidates of both parties this cycle with campaign donations through ROCKPAC, the association’s political action committee that’s dedicated to advancing the aggregate industry’s priorities with federal candidates.

According to, ROCKPAC contributed $661,000 during the 2016 election cycle to 221 federal political candidates as of July 21. Eighty-one percent of the PAC’s donations supported Republicans with the other 19 percent of contributions backing Democrats. House Republicans received 70 percent of the PAC’s funds.

Eight candidates received campaign donations of at least $10,000, including Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.; Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa.; Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.; Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.; Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; and Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.

Of the political candidates who received ROCKPAC contributions, no one received one of less than $1,000.

More: What do presidential candidates say about infrastructure?

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About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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