(Adds outside comment, White House confirmation)
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, March 8 U.S. President Donald Trump
on Wednesday will discuss the administration's plans to boost
infrastructure spending with business leaders including Elon
Musk, who heads Tesla Inc and Space X, the White House
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 said the discussion would focus on
"opportunities where the private sector and the government can
work together to help rebuild American infrastructure."
Major real estate and private equity executives will attend
the meeting, including developer Richard LeFrak, Vornado Realty
Trust Chief Executive Officer Steve Roth and Apollo
Global Management co-founder Josh Harris, the White
The New York Times reported last month that Trump asked
LeFrak to consider overseeing construction of a border wall with
Trump, who was previously a 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
Musk, who is making his third trip to meet with Trump since
the president took office Jan. 20, said in December that he
planned a project dubbed "the Boring Company" to start digging
tunnels in Los Angeles to relieve traffic congestion.
Edward Mortimer, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce transportation
official, told a Senate panel on Wednesday that without action,
the federal highway trust fund would face a serious shortfall
starting in 2020, and policymakers would need to come up with
$150 billion over six years to maintain current spending.
"This shortfall will likely result in significant
uncertainty, with states possibly delaying major transportation
projects," he said.
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, the White House said.
Participants in the meeting did not comment or respond to
requests for comment.
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.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Additional reporting by Ayesha
Rascoe; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Lisa Von Ahn)