CEOs Join Forces with Unions to Push for National Infrastructure Upgrades

American CEOs’ key lobby group, Business Roundtable, has taken out a full-page ad in national newspapers calling on the Trump administration to follow through on its infrastructure spending plans.

The advertisement is remarkable for its demonstration of solidarity with the labor movement. North America’s Buildings Trades Unions is a co-signatory, though its involvement isn’t entirely surprising considering what a construction boom would mean for its 14 member unions.

The publicity push comes amid growing fears that intrigue over the president’s possible ties to Russia will derail his policy agenda of tax cuts, regulatory relief and $1 trillion in infrastructure spending.

A need to upgrade American infrastructure has been recognized by dozens of high-profile CEOs and lawmakers on both sides of the political divide, although opinions differ on how projects would be funded. Trump wants to see the private sector get involved, and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has suggested that asset privatizations could attract company capital.

“Families, communities, workers and businesses all succeed when our nation’s infrastructure is robust, dependable and accessible to all.”

“Families, communities, workers and businesses all succeed when our nation’s infrastructure is robust, dependable and accessible to all,” the advertisement reads.

“Business and labor leaders call on the administration and Congress to develop and implement a long-term plan for addressing the permitting, regulatory, funding and financing challenges that are crippling our ability to rebuild and expand our nation’s infrastructure.”

The ad, timed to coincide with Infrastructure Week, calls for an acceleration of project delivery by expediting permits, indicating the union is prepared to support the easing of at least some regulatory burdens.

“There’s no doubt that our nation’s public works are facing severe troubles—and our members, unions and contractors look forward to tackling vital infrastructure projects in the safest, most productive manner possible,” the NABTU said in a statement.

“If President Donald Trump and Congress agree on a sustainable, major infrastructure investment, the building trades unions are committed to working with the business community, government and other stakeholders to ensure this venture isn’t undertaken in vain.”

The ad also calls on lawmakers to prioritize projects with the greatest economic impact. As recently reported by Chief Executive, an analysis by Boston Consulting Group and CG/LA Infrastructure found that a $1 trillion infrastructure investment could create as many as 4 million jobs.

But it also listed a number of priority projects and sectors that could give the government more bang for its buck, such as building a new airport in Orlando or repairing the Arlington Memorial Bridge.

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Ross Kelly
Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.

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