Infrastructure Week 2018: “The future won't wait. Neither can we.”

2018 has been a big year so for the trucking industry. From President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion dollar infrastructure plan, to the implementation of Electronic Logging Devices, it’s been a lively first quarter of the year, to say the least.

Things don’t show any sign of slowing down, either. This week brings a multitude of infrastructure-centered events around the nation, and it’s coming at a critical time for our nation’s infrastructure.

This year could be one of the most consequential in decades for transportation design and construction professionals as the Trump administration and Congress are poised to act on a major infrastructure package and permanent revenue solution for the ailing Highway Trust Fund.
— Matt Cummings, chairman of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association

The 6th annual National Infrastructure Week, which kicked off yesterday, is a week-long event centered around educating America’s public about the relevance of infrastructure to the nation’s economy, workers, and communities.

Infrastructure Week comes on the heels of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’ announcement that President Trump’s massive infrastructure package probably won’t make much headway this year.

“I don’t know that there will be one by the end of this year. Certainly, the administration … secured some funding for infrastructure projects,” Sanders said in a May 9 press conference. “We also laid out priorities that we wanted to see in an infrastructure legislation package. We’re going to continue to look at ways to improve the nation’s infrastructure, but, in terms of a specific piece of legislation, I’m not aware that that’ll happen by the end of the year.”

Infrastructure Week isn’t just for industry leaders and CEOs. It’s meant to educate individuals and organizations alike by hosting events, showcasing state-of-the-art projects, and discussing topics in infrastructure.

Seminars range from a meeting about North Texas and the Infrastructure Report Card in Dallas on Wednesday, to the Women’s Transportation Seminar International Annual Conference in Coronado, CA on Thursday. 

Infrastructure Week even boasts webinar events, like one over The State of Highway Investment: Plans, Promises and Predictions.

These events outline infrastructure priorities for the year. This year’s events revolve around a singular message: "Americans are waiting. The future won’t. It’s #TimeToBuild."

Transportation secretary Elaine Chao delivered keynote remarks Monday at Infrastructure Week’s kickoff event in Washington, D.C.

As expected, she addressed Trump's infrastructure plan, and expressed that the administration is exploring funding options, from a fuel tax to a vehicle miles traveled fee.

Chao acknowledged that the vehicle miles traveled fee, which drivers would have to pay based on the miles they travel, faces opposition from privacy advocates.

All these mechanisms are available. Every single one of them has their advocate, but every single one of them has their detractors as well. The gasoline tax, while popular with some groups, is obviously not popular with others. There’s a painful point for all groups. This administration hopes we will work with Congress to cross this difficult divide.
— Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao

U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcettither will also be keynote speakers for Infrastructure Week.

During this week, the Transportation Construction Coalition will meet with Congressional members to discuss abiding solutions for the ailing Highway Trust Fund, which funds public bridges, highways, and roads. Unlike sales taxes, which are set as percentages, taxes for this trust fund are set as dollar amounts. 

Trump’s infrastructure plan offers no real solution for the ailing Highway Trust Fund, which is teetering on the edge of insolvency. In fact, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, this fund could become insolvent in just three years.