The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will unveil a series of detailed proposals on how to pay for improvements to the nation's infrastructure next Thursday when it holds a one-day conference on the issue in Washington, D.C., Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said today.
Donohue, in his annual "State of the American Business" address in Washington, did not outline the group's proposals. The Chamber--which, with about 3 million members, is the nation's largest business group—includes transportation, water, broadband, and energy under its infrastructure policy mandate.
Donohue said in his remarks that 2018 "must be the year of major infrastructure improvement," adding that the U.S. cannot run a 21st century economy with "20th century infrastructure, if that."
Donohue praised the Trump administration's efforts to aid American business, noting that what he referred to as "regulatory actions" fell 40 percent in 2017 from their peak in 2011 under the Obama administration. However, Donohue urged the administration not to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying a $1.3 trillion market for goods and services is too large to walk away from.
Donohue said the 24-year-old agreement needs to be modified to incorporate advancements in what he called "digital trade," and to take into account America's energy resurgence. However, scrapping the deal would amount to "five steps back" and undo the progress of the past 12 months, he said.