SOTU Address Lacks Substance on Infrastructure

On January 30, President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union (SOTU) speech to the nation where he declared “the state of our union is strong because our people are strong.” Trump went on to lay out his plans for border security, defense, workforce training, and paid family-leave programs.

The president was expected to include details for his highly anticipated infrastructure plan, something Trump has been promising the American people since his 2016 campaign trail. Instead, the president spoke in broad strokes throughout the evening, mentioning infrastructure briefly and leaving many questions about the administration’s long promised plan. In his address, the president called on Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for new infrastructure investments—a 50 percent jump from his initial target of $1 trillion on the campaign trail. President Trump also emphasized his administration’s aim to reduce the average permitting time for infrastructure projects from 10 years “down to no more than two years.”

ASLA hopes that the administration and Congress will soon provide more details about a proposed infrastructure plan. In the meantime, ASLA is working with policy makers to urge the development of a comprehensive infrastructure plan that addresses updating and strengthening all forms of community infrastructure, including multimodal transportation corridors, water and stormwater management systems, public lands, parks and recreation facilities, and the unique needs of our coastal communities. Any infrastructure development must include a sound, strategic planning and design process—good design and planning is a smart investment in creating a strong infrastructure and a strong economy. During the SOTU, ASLA government affairs participated in a Twitter storm with allied organizations and coalition partners to highlight the need for including all modes of transportation, including bicycle, pedestrian, and trails, in an infrastructure plan.

Recently, the Society sent all U.S. Senators, members of the House of Representatives, and members of the administration, “Landscape Architects Leading Community Infrastructure Design and Development,” which outlines ASLA’s infrastructure recommendations for fixing our nation’s water management systems, recognizing parks and public lands as infrastructure, and upgrading to a multimodal transportation system. ASLA will continue to promote these infrastructure recommendations and move them through the legislative process.


Kevin Fry
Director, PR and

JR Taylor
PR Coordinator