Architect of Trump Infrastructure Plan Resigns

Among the many departures of the Trump administration, one name hasn't made major headlines: DJ Gribbin, a former Macquarie Capital Group executive and general counsel for the U.S. Department of Transportation serving President George W. Bush.
April 6, 2018, 11am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"An administration official tells NPR that DJ Gribbin, architect of the president's $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, 'will be moving on to new opportunities,'" reports David Schaper on April 4. The plan, only made public last February, was based on a $200 billion investment from the federal government, with local and state sources and the private sector expected to pay the remainder.

Trump had touted the 10-year plan, drafted by Gribbin, at an infrastructure event in Richfield, Ohio on March 29 as "the biggest and boldest infrastructure plan in the last half-century." During the same speech, he acknowledged "that an infrastructure plan in Congress will likely come after the 2018 midterm elections, arguing that Democrats don’t want to provide Republicans with a win," reported Mallory Shelbourne for The Hill.

The comments deal a blow to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee lawmakers and industry leaders who have long pushed for rebuilding legislation.

"A little over a year ago, Gribbin left his job at Macquarie Capital, a finance and asset management firm where he focused on public-private partnerships, to take the lead on crafting an infrastructure plan for the president," adds Schaper.

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly spoke with DJ Gribbin in February on the plan. She asked, "What gives you confidence that local governments and the private sector can or will take on funding the [$1.3 trillion]? Gribbon responded:

[P]rior to this role, I spent a couple of decades developing projects all across America. And one of the biggest challenges you hit is the uncertainty around federal funding. So I think in conversations that we've had in the last year, it's apparent that cities and states and counties are eager to invest more in infrastructure, and they're sort of very excited that the federal government's going to be a partner with them in that.

The interview is worth listening to, as Kelly "pushes backs" (her words) on Gribbin's answers which appeared evasive to this listener.

Infrastructure advocates, like Building America’s Future,  American Trucking Associations, and American Road & Transportation Builders Association, whom Gribbin has been active with for two decades, told Transport Topic on April 5 that they were undeterred and would continue to seek investments. They plan a series of events during the 6th annual National Infrastructure Week beginning May 14.

Hat tip to Mike Keenly.
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Published on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 in NPR: The Two-Way
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