On May 17, 2021, Jim Burnley and Fred Wagner were featured in a Logistics Management Q&A on the current state of U.S. transportation infrastructure, from both a policy and a supply chain perspective. The following is an excerpt:
LM: What is your take on the true prospects for the White House’s proposed infrastructure plan?
Jim Burnley: The only thing that I am certain will pass is an extension of the existing Highway Trust Fund (HTF) programs for highways and transit. I do not see a pathway to pass anything like the package, or a portion of the package, that President Biden has proposed. I say that because everyone is in favor of spending more money on transportation infrastructure, among other things. But I don’t see how the pay-for’s come together. Biden has drawn a bright line and said he will not raise taxes on anybody who makes less than $400,000 per year, which was then clarified to mean individuals.
Fred Wagner: The political reality here is exactly what Jim described. I think the other variable that goes into the calculus is whether, or if, the White House reconciliation moves ahead, and, if so, to what. Now on the table, in addition to the infrastructure plan, is the American Families Plan, which deals with other financial and fiscal proposals. Strategically, I think the month of May will be the month where the White House decides yes or no, either likelihood of getting sufficient support, which could colorfully be called bipartisan, and then the pressure goes back to the Republicans to see if they are going to draw a line in the sand to say they are not doing that. It is still in entrenched opposition and will be decided in May, because we are starting to see legislative proposals being written. Speaker Pelosi has talked about something being done by July 4, and I have heard there are markups in major committees, so all of that is going to start coming together on paper and then the decision is going to have to be made by majority leaders, the speaker, and the administration, in terms of how we are going to proceed to see if there is a path to reconciliation or not.
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