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Carlyle co-CEO, Chamber of Commerce officials urge more action on infrastructure

Glenn Youngkin, co-CEO of the Carlyle Group LP, speaks Thursday at an infrastructure summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington.

The U.S. needs to do more to facilitate infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships, or investor money "will go someplace else. State and local retirement plans want to invest in infrastructure," said Glenn Youngkin, Carlyle Group co-CEO, Thursday at a Chamber of Commerce event in Washington.

"The number one thing we are looking for is projects," said Mr. Youngkin, who called on the White House and Congress "to make a statement" about improving the pipeline of projects as Washington begins working on an infrastructure bill later this year.

The White House has outlined a general plan for $200 billion in direct federal spending over the next 10 years to spur another $800 billion in spending by state and local governments and the private sector, but President Donald Trump is not expected to unveil a detailed plan before his Jan. 30 State of the Union address to Congress.

The Chamber of Commerce and other business groups want Congress to build up the highway trust fund by increasing the gas tax by 5 cents per year for five years, which would raise $394 billion over 10 years. While 39 states have raised their own fees, the federal tax has not been raised since 1993, chamber officials said.

Thomas J. Donohue, chamber president and CEO, said anther essential change is streamlining a "broken" permitting process with a single lead agency. "If we can just fix the permitting issue this year, we can move forward," Mr. Donahue said.