US infra $90bn project list taps private financing

North America's Building Trades Unions, which met with Trump in January, sent the president a list of 26 infrastructure projects mostly held up due to permitting issues.

A group of trade unions has sent a list of 26 pending priority infrastructure projects relying mostly on private financing to the Trump administration.

North America's Building Trades Unions, a coalition of 14 US and Canadian building and construction unions, sent the list last month at the administration’s request. Projects included in the list have financing in place but await regulatory proceedings, the group said.

“Our message was that these infrastructure projects could already be underway if not for the lack of government approval,” a NABTU spokesman told Infrastructure Investor. “Our intent was to solicit the administration’s help in expediting the permitting.”

Projects on the list include gas pipelines, bridge replacements and wind and solar farms totalling close to $90 billion in investment. Engineering is complete and in place for all but three of the projects listed, according to NABTU.

Highlights include the Jordan Cove pipeline in Oregon, the Chokecherry & Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project in Wyoming and the Gateway Tunnel rail project between New York and New Jersey. The list was first disclosed by McClatchy.

During his campaign, Trump promised up to $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, with the administration later clarifying that much of this investment would come from the private sector. Since the election, the president has yet to add much detail on what will be in an infrastructure bill.

Trump has, however, discussed clearing red tape holding back projects. With NABTU’s list focusing on schemes held up in permitting, Trump may not need a major spending bill to get the ball rolling on some of the items included on the list.

Along with details of an infrastructure plan, the president’s time frame for passing legislation also remains unclear. Though House Speaker Paul Ryan has said he expects Congress to address infrastructure by the end of the summer, other Republicans have acknowledged it may be bumped to 2018.

Earlier this week, Axios reported the administration may look to tie infrastructure spending to tax reform, potentially pushing up the timing of a bill following Republicans’ failure to pass healthcare reform legislation.

NABTU officials met with President Trump during his first days in office, sending the project list around a month later. NABTU has cheered calls for infrastructure investment from both parties while also applauding the administration for jumpstarting the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.