Trump to Discuss Infrastructure Spending With Elon Musk and Other Business Leaders

FILE PHOTO: 89th Academy Awards – Oscars Vanity Fair Party – Beverly Hills, California, U.S. – 26/02/17 – Elon Musk. (REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday will discuss the administration’s plans to boost infrastructure spending with Elon Musk, who heads Tesla Inc and Space X, and other business leaders, a White House official said.

During his presidential campaign, Trump said he would push for a $1 trillion infrastructure program to rebuild roads, bridges, airports and other public works projects, but he has not presented a specific plan.

The White House official said the discussion would focus on “opportunities where the private sector and the government can work together to help rebuild American infrastructure.”

The meeting will include major real estate and private equity executives, including developer Richard LeFrak, Vornado Realty Trust Chief Executive Officer Steve Roth and Apollo Global Management co-founder Josh Harris.

The New York Times reported last month that Trump asked LeFrak to consider overseeing construction of a border wall with Mexico.

Trump, a well-known New York real estate developer, told the Wall Street Journal in January that he was tapping LeFrak and Roth to head a new council to monitor spending on his infrastructure plan.

Musk, who is making his third trip to meet with Trump since the president took office Jan. 20, said in December that he planned to start digging tunnels because of the traffic in Los Angeles.

Wednesday’s meeting will also include Vice President Mike Pence, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, as well as General Atlantic CEO Bill Ford, McKinsey & Co partner Tyler Duvall and Nature Conservancy Managing Director Lynn Scarlett.

Last month, Trump touted the infrastructure plan in an address to Congress.

“To launch our national rebuilding,” he said, “I will be asking Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of the United States – financed through both public and private capital – creating millions of new jobs.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers has graded U.S. infrastructure at D+ and estimated the country needs to invest $3.6 trillion by 2020.

In January, Trump signed an executive order aimed at expediting environmental reviews and approvals for all infrastructure projects, especially high-priority projects such as improving the U.S. electric grid and telecommunications systems and repairing and upgrading “critical” port facilities, airports, pipelines, bridges, and highways.

SOURCE: Reuters, David Shepardson