Jim Burnley was quoted on April 18, 2018, about the possibility of President Trump's infrastructure plan being introduced in Congress this year.
According to the article, infrastructure is an early casualty of Washington's fixation on the November mid-term elections. Retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and others are signaling that Trump's $200 billion federal infrastructure plan is all but dead for this year.
Mr. Burnley said, working on an infrastructure program in an election year is a neat political trick—and one just not possible in the current political climate.
"We're just not in a political environment where big, bold infrastructure programs are available."
With the Highway Trust Fund collapsing, Burnley said, the time is ripe for bold, new thinking.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), from 2021 to 2026 trust fund revenue is projected to total $243 billion. But outlays will amount to $364 billion, resulting in an imbalance of $121 billion. Each year during this period, the trust fund faces shortfalls of between $19 billion to $23 billion, the CBO says.
"Was it this hard in the 1990s when I was there? Yes," Burnley said. "I hope Congress will have the political will to really come to grips with that fundamental resource. That doesn't mean dramatic increases in the fuel tax. There are almost an infinite other ways to do it. But the political will has to be there—and right now it isn't."