On January 31, President Trump issued an executive order directing the secretaries of each federal agency to encourage recipients of federal grants for infrastructure projects to use products manufactured in the United States. The directive will apply to grant projects focused on improving surface transportation, broadband capabilities and water resources, among other initiatives, and it encourages the use of American-produced manufacturing materials such as iron, cement, aluminum and steel. Under the January 31 order, agencies will have 90 days to create a new program in support of the executive order’s goals and 120 days to report on techniques used to promote American-based manufacturing.
The new executive order builds on the administration’s focus on infrastructure investments over the past two years. In February 2018, the president released a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, which included streamlined regulatory requirements, new infrastructure funding and incentive programs for public-private partnerships, among other provisions. Key congressional committees have signaled they plan to consider infrastructure legislation later this year.
As the administration and Congress consider how to improve the nation’s infrastructure, counties should be recognized as key stakeholders in any future infrastructure legislation. As owners of 46 percent of all public roads and 38 percent of public bridges, new legislation shaping infrastructure policy could impact counties’ ability to provide adequate transportation and infrastructure for residents. NACo will continue to monitor administrative and legislative action on infrastructure.