After President Trump's "infrastructure week" was widely mocked among media members, some politicians, lawmakers and advocates who are serious about wanting to see the nation's roads and bridges improved are grappling with how to move forward.
Republicans who share Trump's desire to spend on infrastructure welcomed Trump's weeklong focus on the issue, and interpreted his spare-in-detail early ideas as a starting point in negotiations.
"Usually, politicians say things just to get elected and hope no one remembers it," said Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in an interview with the Washington Examiner.
"Trump is different," added Barletta, who was an early supporter of the candidate for president. "Not only is he talking about it, he is saying now is the time to fix our nation's infrastructure. He won't take his foot off the pedal on this. It's more than just talk. He wants this done."
But many Democrats viewed Trump's early efforts as unserious, and were discouraged by the president's ideas, which they said catered to Republican interests. Trump's message was also overshadowed by former FBI Director James Comey's testimony on Capitol Hill.
"This was ‘infrastructure week,' but there was no bill, no proposal, no nothing," Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., also a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told the Washington Examiner. "All we have seen is some slogans and press releases about privatization. For Democrats, that's a non-starter. This is just a show so far."
Trump started "infrastructure week" promoting the privatization of the country's air traffic control system, claiming that it would make travel easier and cheaper.
The plan involves creating a nonprofit organization to run air traffic control at the nation's airports, taking it away from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The idea mirrors a proposal offered by Rep. Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, that never made it to the House floor.
Trump also outlined his broader infrastructure proposal, offering $200 billion in direct federal spending over 10 years to improve roads, bridges, airports and other transportation vehicles, in addition to broadband, schools and hospitals.
The Trump administration says it would use tax breaks to incentivize private business to spend more money on infrastructure projects. With state and local contributions, total spending would equal $1 trillion.
Finally, the administration capped the week by vowing that it it would cut regulations to help the government "get out of the way" of building projects.
While some Democrats support the concept of privatizing and modernizing air traffic control, and easing regulations to speed infrastructure projects, many were hostile to Trump's spending plan.
Trump promised a $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan during the campaign, but Democrats interpreted that to mean the federal government would be taking on all, or the bulk of, that funding.
As president, Trump has not revealed how the $200 billion he proposed would be funded, including how much with tax credits, and how much with grants, for example, and what projects the money would support.
Democrats also point to an analysis by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan research organization, that found Trump's 2018 budget proposal would cut existing infrastructure spending by $55 billion.
The White House's Office of Management and Budget has contested that analysis, arguing that the cuts proposed for one year can't be projected to be the same for 10 years.
"The ideas we've seen so far [from Trump] represent a radical departure from past infrastructure policy, and is not likely to achieve bipartisan support," said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, in a statement.
With Republicans in Congress struggling to advance other priorities such as healthcare and tax reform, Carper notes that lawmakers have not begun writing bipartisan infrastructure legislation.
"Democrats are ready get to work, but the vague ideas touted by the administration during ‘infrastructure week' lacked a sophisticated understanding of the challenges we face and didn't provide any new information or details that could help enable Congress to begin work on a serious infrastructure bill," Carper said.
Michael Sargent, an infrastructure analyst at the Heritage Foundation, is doubtful that Democrats and Republicans can reach consensus, and he said Trump's "infrastructure week" did little to bridge the divide.
He notes that conservatives who have always been resistant to federal infrastructure spending will likely oppose even the $2 billion in funding the administration proposed.
And Sargent said Democrats "just want another stimulus package." In 2009, then-President Obama pushed a $840 billion stimulus plan through Congress, dedicating $105 billion to infrastructure, but conservatives blocked additional efforts to spend more.
"You will have a hard time getting fiscal conservatives on board, depending on how it's paid for and how much you spend," Sargent said. "And you will have a hard time getting Democrats on board, who are automatically predisposed to fight against this administration. That leaves a small block for a major infrastructure proposal. It will be a pretty hard battle in Congress."
Robert Puentes, the president and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, was more encouraged by Trump's infrastructure week, and credited him for promoting the issue.
But he said the administration needs to follow-up with more details. In an interview, Puentes noted Republicans in Congress face little urgency to pursue infrastructure spending, because there is no deadline or spending lapse associated with it in the near-term.
"Broadly, any time you have a president or significant figure talking about infrastructure, it's a good thing," Puentes said. "Infrastructure is normally resigned to back rooms and board rooms. We have done the outreach part, but we need the specifics. It has to be something more than just the hand-wringing that goes on and trying to figure out exactly what we do about it."
At least some lawmakers see a path forward. Reps. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., are co-chairs of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 40 House members dedicated to deal-making.
In interviews, Reed and Gottheimer criticized lawmakers from their own parties who reacted dramatically to Trump's infrastructure week. They said they view Trump's plans as opening pitches in long negotiations.
"We are talking about a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure," Reed said. "Whoever mocks or dismisses that is missing a real opportunity to advance important policy for the American people. If we just play shirts and skins and go to the extreme base, we will fail. Longstanding and influential policy is bipartisan legislation."
The Problem Solvers Caucus has formally endorsed pairing infrastructure spending with tax reform, essentially paying for the former with repatriated cash parked overseas, which they view as the most realistic solution.
"From the Democratic side, we have to be to go to the table, engage and be willing to be part of the process," Gottheimer said. "No one is going to get everything they want. We can't afford not to move forward given state of infrastructure in this country."