WASHINGTON, July 25, 2017 – With Congress heading towards the August recess without any sign of the administration’s promised $1 trillion infrastructure plan, President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order creating a new Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure.
The advisory council – which will operate under the auspices of the Commerce Department - will spend the next year and a half formulating plans to advance policies for developing infrastructure that will yield high-quality jobs.
At the end of the 18 month period, the president may extend the council’s mandate, or it could terminate operations after submitting findings and recommend steps to enhance U.S. infrastructure.
The 15 council members will serve without compensation (save for expenses allowed under existing law) will be appointed by the president, and is to be composed of members representing eight main areas of the infrastructure sector: Real estate, finance, construction, communications & technology, transportation & logistics, labor, environmental policy, and regional & local economic development.
If the president decides more industries or groups should have input into the council’s operations, those additional representatives will report to one of the 15 appointed members.
The advisory council appears to emulate a similar group established by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. The group held its second meeting on Thursday.
The advisory council proposed to study and recommend funding allocations for infrastructure improvements throughout the United States. Some topics already suggested for study include advancing the overall pre-construction approval process and creating funding options while building additional financial plans over the next ten years.
Additionally, a greater emphasis on public-private partners for infrastructure projects as well as finding ways to enhance methods, timeline of grant awards, and delivery of infrastructure systems are expected to play a significant under the executive order establishing this advisory council.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his department will provide the council with administrative staff and support, as well as other necessary items needed for the council to carry out its task.
Within 60 days of creation of the council, Secretary Ross will submit questions to be considered pertinent to its potential findings and recommendations.
The order also provides notice to other federal departments and agencies that they are to cooperate and provide any necessary information to the advisory council should it be required for the council to carry out its mission.
The council’s findings are expected to be used to set out the next steps for the Trump Administration on infrastructure.