On March 8, President Donald Trump met with Elon Musk and other top business leaders to discuss the administration's plans to increase infrastructure spending.
Also present at the meeting were real estate and private equity executives, including developer Richard LeFrak, Vornado Realty Trust CEO Steve Roth and Apollo Global Management co-founder Josh Harris, reports Reuters. General Atlantic CEO Bill Ford, McKinsey & Co partner Tyler Duvall and Nature Conservancy director Lynn Scarlett also attended, as did Vice President Mike Pence, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, the White House said.
Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, is on the president's business advisory council, notes Reuters. Though he has received criticism from many people for remaining in the advisory position despite Trump passing his more controversial measures, Musk has touted his moderate politics as a reason to remain as an influential figure close to the president.
The conversation comes days after the president met with 15 federal agencies to discuss implementing his infrastructure improvement plans, and he discussed similar issues on March 7 with AFL-CIO union President Rich Trumka.
Trump said during his 2016 presidential bid that he would work to implement a $1 trillion budget that would go toward public works projects like improving roads and bridges, though he has not yet released a detailed plan.
"The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding," Trump said in a February address to Congress, according to Reuters. "To launch our national rebuilding, 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."
Trump signed into law an executive order in January that aims to streamline the approval process for high-profile infrastructure projects "such as improving the U.S. electric grid and telecommunications systems and repairing and upgrading critical port facilities, airports, pipelines, bridges, and highways," the action said.
"Infrastructure used to be a point of American pride, but now an overbearing, ineffective regulatory system can keep projects in limbo for years," said White House spokesman Sean Spicer, according to Reuters. "The government has wasted too much of the taxpayers' money on inefficient and misguided projects."
Spicer also said that Trump was looking to move forward on the issue by forging strong bonds between public and private institutions.
The nation's infrastructure currently has a D+ rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers, notes Reuters. The society recommended that the nation invest $3.6 trillion into public works by 2020.