WASHINGTON — President Donald J. Trump only mentioned the nation’s infrastructure and its proposed new Canada-Mexico trade agreement in his State of the Union address to Congress Tuesday night, but what he said brought immediate support from the American Trucking Associations, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“Many of us campaigned on the same core promises: to defend American jobs and demand fair trade for American workers; to rebuild and revitalize our Nation’s infrastructure; to reduce the price of healthcare and prescription drugs; to create an immigration system that is safe, lawful, modern and secure; and to pursue a foreign policy that puts America’s interests first,” Trump said about halfway through his speech.
“Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure,” he said moments later. “I know that the Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill — and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future. This is not an option. This is a necessity.”
“Tonight, President Trump called for a national, bipartisan effort to restore our country’s declining infrastructure — and America’s truckers are answering that call,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear. “A win on this issue will require real investment, not budgetary gimmicks as tried in years past. That is why America’s truckers, along with a broad coalition of the business community, have pledged our financial commitment to making this national priority a reality.
“Decades of failed leadership in Washington have led us to this point, which is why we commend the president for seizing this opportunity to bring all sides together to forge a common path forward. Restoring our national infrastructure to greatness will further ignite our economy, make us more competitive abroad, and give Americans more time to spend with family and less time stuck in traffic.”
Jim Tymon, AASHTO executive director, said Trump’s address was once again making transportation infrastructure investment a top national priority.
“Transportation has long been a bipartisan concern and this year, with the administration’s support a transportation bill can be that rare opportunity to bring members of Congress together from both sides of the aisle,” Tymon said. “AASHTO and its member state departments of transportation stand ready to work with the Administration and Congress on a national plan to shore up the Highway Trust Fund and make the investments needed to modernize our aging transportation infrastructure.”
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves, R-Mo., said Trump was crystal clear to the American people that he wants to cut the congestion we all face in our daily lives, fix our roads and bridges, and modernize our waterways, ports, railways, and airports.
“With the President’s leadership on infrastructure, and the widespread agreement on the need to act, we have a prime opportunity to achieve something that matters to people across the country and to our economy,” Graves said. “It’s up to Congress to work together and with the administration to find common ground on issues that pose real threats to the future of our infrastructure network. We need infrastructure solutions that address our long-term funding issues, cut the time and costs involved in the project delivery process, and recognize that a modern economy demands the safe and timely integration of 21st century technology.”
Turning to cross-border trade, Trump said he had met the men and women of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire, and many other States whose dreams were shattered by NAFTA.
“For years, politicians promised them they would negotiate for a better deal. But no one ever tried — until now,” he said. “Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — or USMCA — will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers: bringing back our manufacturing jobs, expanding American agriculture, protecting intellectual property, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with four beautiful words: made in the USA. Tonight, I am also asking you to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the same product that they sell to us.”
Spear continued to urge Congress to move quickly on the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“Trucking and trade are synonymous. Trucks move $720 billion worth of goods annually across our borders with Canada and Mexico, and cross-border trucking activity supports more than 47,000 jobs in the United States,” he said. “Any significant disruption to those trading relationships would have serious consequences for trucking and the economy, so we join President Trump in his call for Congress to quickly ratify the USMCA trade agreement.”
Lyndon Finney’s publishing career spans over 55 years beginning with a reporter position with the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1965. Since then he’s been a newspaper editor at the Southwest Times Record, served five years as assistant managing editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock and from November 2004 through December 2019 served as editor of The Trucker. Between newspaper jobs he spent 14 years as director of communications at Baptist Health, Arkansas’ largest healthcare system. In addition to his publishing career he served for 46 years as organist at Little Rock’s largest Baptist church.