President Donald Trump mostly omitted infrastructure language from his 2019 State of the Union address to Congress, disappointing policymakers, investors, and local governments who believe the President’s support will be critical for the passage of an infrastructure package.
On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing to discuss the need for drastic investment in America’s decaying infrastructure. One of the witnesses, former Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, took notice of the President’s declining enthusiasm, and said no infrastructure proposal will make it through Congress without support from President Trump. House Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) noted the omission of infrastructure from the speech suggests the President is abandoning a controversial infrastructure proposal he submitted to Congress last year, and does not have a secondary plan in the pipeline.
The Committee hearing, titled “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Investing in Our Nation’s Infrastructure Cannot Wait,” was well attended by the California congressional delegation. Representatives Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), Doug LaMalfa (R-Butte), Grace Napolitano (D-Los Angeles), and Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) were present. Their attendance signaled that infrastructure legislation is a priority for their districts. Their engagement on this issue will be critical to ensure the priorities and objectives of rural California are reflected in any infrastructure legislation.