[Updated] China and U.S. Voice Infrastructure Plans

By MarEx 2017-03-01 18:27:14

The Chinese government announced its plans to improve the country's transport infrastructure on Tuesday, a move that coincided with U.S. President Donald Trump’s infrastructure announcement to Congress.

China’s 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020) anticipates that by 2020, the nation will have 150,000 kilometers of railway lines, five million kilometers of roads, 260 airports and 2,527 berths for vessels over 10,000 tons, reports China Daily.

"China tops the world in the length of high-speed railways, expressways and urban rail transit networks, and the number of berths for vessels over 10,000 tons," Li Pumin, secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission, said. He also noted that seven of the world's 10 largest ports in terms of container throughput are located in China.

China Daily reports that the country's transport investment totaled 13.4 trillion yuan ($1.95 trillion) between 2011 and 2015. As part of the new plan, a total of 15 trillion yuan ($2.2 trillion) will be channeled into transport infrastructure improvement projects by 2020, including 500 billion yuan ($73 billion) for water transport.

Meanwhile, in his Joint Address to Congress on Tuesday, Trump said: “America has spent approximately $6 trillion in the Middle East - all the while our infrastructure at home is crumbling. With this $6 trillion, we could have rebuilt our country twice, and maybe even three times if we had people who had the ability to negotiate. 

"To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of the United States - financed through both public and private capital - creating millions of new jobs. This effort will be guided by two core principles:  buy American and hire American.”

"Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our very, very beautiful land, he said. This will be financed through both public and private capital. Earlier reports of the infrastructure plan indicate that the proposal includes $70 billion to modernize America’s ports, airports and waterways."

Trump's comments were met with applause. However, The Hill notes that lawmakers may not be able to handle a major infrastructure bill this year.

Kathryn Thomson, head of the Transportation Group in Washington for law firm Morrison & Foerster, said: “In his remarks last night, Trump reiterated his campaign pledge to press for $1 trillion in infrastructure investment. He also acknowledged, seemingly for the first time, that funding should come from both public and private sources. While it is great that he appears to support infrastructure investment, Trump has offered no specifics, and numerous Republican members of Congress have expressed their unwillingness to support a large infrastructure bill,” said Thomson. 

“Additionally, the $1 trillion of promised investment, as significant as it sounds, barely covers existing needs. At present, there is an infrastructure backlog of maintenance needs of nearly $900 billion in the transportation system alone. America needs to plug this hole and build for the future. To achieve this result, we need stronger leadership from both the White House and Congress,” said Thomson.

Washington Briefing

An estimated 300 attendees from 44-states are taking part in the 2017 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Annual Washington Briefing being held this week at the Washington Court Hotel, near the U.S. Capitol Building. The conference is focused on new leadership in Washington who will decide if and when new legislation will be drafted to boost investment and streamline the delivery of transportation projects; two of AASHTO’s legislative priorities.

Bill Shuster (R-PA) Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee delivered the following remarks.

Tom Carper (D-DE), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee delivered the following remarks.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee delivered the following remarks.

Peter DeFazio (D-OR) Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee delivered the following remarks.