With President Joe Biden’s calls for a major new infrastructure bill and Congress also looking to write and pass another surface transportation reauthorization bill, the need to fix and modernize America’s infrastructure is getting a lot of attention at the moment.
To kick off the International Bridge Tunnel & Turnpike Association’s (IBTTA) 2021Transportation Finance Summit, I did a fireside chat—on Zoom—with DJ Gribbin, who served as President Donald Trump’s special assistant for infrastructure, where he developed the administration’s comprehensive infrastructure plan. Throughout Gribbin’s career—he was also general counsel for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and then the U.S. Department of Transportation under President George W. Bush—he has specialized in infrastructure financing, business, and policy. He has always been a creative thinker and driven interesting conversations on transportation-related issues.
In the conversation, Gribbin talks about the challenges of turning a large infrastructure vision into the kind of concrete plan that can actually be implemented, how to overcome these challenges, and other aspects of what we can expect to see in the coming months as President Biden tries to move his ambitious American Jobs Plan from its current form through Congress to become law of the land.
We also discuss the current political climate surrounding transportation policy, both at the federal and state level, as governments struggle to prioritize and fund infrastructure projects. Gribbin offers insight into the problems plaguing transportation funding in recent years and we can overcome them.
The Transportation Finance Summit was a joint effort of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
Gribbin is also the founder of Madrus, a consulting firm dedicated to developing critical infrastructure, and now works as a senior operating partner at Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners and as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
I hope you will enjoy the wide-ranging conversation on transportation, government spending and earmarks, and more, including what it’s like to be the inspiration for a definition in the Urban Dictionary.