Where the presidential candidates stand on infrastructure

By |  October 2, 2020
A damaged roadway surface in California. Photo: tupungato/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

A damaged roadway surface in California. Photo: tupungato/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Fewer than 35 days remain until Americans head to the polls to cast their ballots in what some are calling the most important presidential election in history.

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have made clear that they have distinctly different visions for America, and that there’s little they can agree upon. Still, if the two were to find some common ground on any issue, it might be the one that’s near and dear to aggregate producers: infrastructure.

Both Trump and Biden have made infrastructure an issue on the campaign trail, although infrastructure doesn’t get the fanfare of other election issues. Both candidates, however, have made statements along the campaign trail indicating they recognize that considerable work must be done to address America’s crumbling infrastructure.

Trump on infrastructure

Photo: Donald Trump


Infrastructure was a key issue President Trump ran on four years ago.

With a background in real estate development, Trump drew attention as a candidate by shedding light on America’s falling-apart roads, bridges and airports. Over the last three and a half years, the president continuously expressed an interest in passing a major infrastructure bill. No major infrastructure bill has been passed under the Trump administration thus far, though. 

During his first year in office, the president laid out a vision for an infrastructure package that would inject $200 billion into transportation projects over 10 years – with a goal of creating $1 trillion worth of overall investment.

In 2018, the Trump administration unveiled a six-point plan committing that $200 billion in federal funds to spur at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments, with partners at the state, local, tribal and private levels. Through the plan, the president sought to make new investments in rural America, return decision-making to state and local governments and remove regulatory barriers that get in the way of projects. He also sought to streamline and shorten permitting for projects, as well as reform federal education and workforce development.

In 2019, Trump elevated his dollar figure on infrastructure to $2 trillion, agreeing to pursue a deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) for that dollar amount. The lawmakers did not determine a way to pay for the bill, though, and politics quickly derailed the negotiations.

Trump once again articulated his interest in infrastructure legislation this spring, calling for $2 trillion to be weaved into coronavirus relief funding. Additionally, as part of its second-term agenda, the Trump campaign lists “[building] the world’s greatest infrastructure system” as a core priority. 

Biden on infrastructure

Photo: Joe Biden


Former Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a presidential plan this summer to address infrastructure and energy together, also aiming for a $2 trillion investment that would be deployed over his first term. On his website, Biden lists eight key elements of his plan – the first and last of which are to “build a modern infrastructure.”

Biden touches on roads and bridges in a written statement about his plan, articulating that he will create “good, union jobs that expand the middle class by transforming our crumbling transportation infrastructure – including roads and bridges, rail, aviation, ports and inland waterways – making the movement of goods and people faster, cheaper, cleaner and manufactured in America while preserving and growing the union workforce.”

It’s unclear how much of Biden’s $2 trillion plan will be directed to roads and bridges, but the former vice president is also intent on making investments in other areas when it comes to infrastructure and energy. For example, Biden is vocal about establishing a “clean energy” economy. He’s interested in infrastructure that can “withstand the impacts of climate change,” as well, meaning energy-efficient buildings, electric vehicles and other green approaches.

Additionally, Biden wants to “move ambitiously to generate clean, American-made electricity to achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.”

Looking back, Biden served under President Obama when the American Recovery & Reinvestment of Act was signed into law in 2009. The bill targeted financial relief for infrastructure, among other things, toward the back end of the Great Recession.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

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

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