Fixing America's crumbling bridges and roadways requires a 'czar,' infrastructure expert says

Lepatner: There's 18,000 high-risk dams in this nation
Lepatner: There's 18,000 high-risk dams in this nation

President Donald Trump has proposed a plan to spend nearly $1 trillion to rebuild the nation's deteriorating airports, roads and bridges, but the issue could require an "infrastructure czar," expert Barry LePatner told CNBC on Tuesday.

"We lack the political will and the political leadership to address this problem in a comprehensive way," LePatner said in an interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

"If we put on a large-scale infrastructure program that was dedicated ... we will have an addressing of this issue."

LePatner, an attorney, is the author of a book titled, "Too Big to Fall: America's Failing Infrastructure and the Way Forward." He's also created a website where U.S. residents can learn more about the most distressed bridges in their own neighborhoods.

Another problem the Trump administration faces in rebuilding America's infrastructure is finding workers, LePatner said.

After the Great Recession in 2008, more than 1 million construction workers left the industry, and most of them haven't returned, he explained. But should the government provide a "steady cash flow to construction companies," there will be well-paid jobs again, and those workers will be found.

"Somebody has to take responsibility at the political level and provide the leadership and the willpower," LePatner told CNBC.

Trump will reportedly meet on Wednesday with the chief executive officers of eight large retailers, including Target, Best Buy and J.C. Penney, to discuss tax reform and infrastructure improvements.