'Potholes are everywhere' — fixing US infrastructure could take 40 years, says Chamber of Commerce CEO

  • Getting Congress to pass an infrastructure package would be just the first step in a decadeslong endeavor, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue says.
  • The White House is reportedly finalizing its long-awaited infrastructure plan.
  • Donohue will reiterate his call for an infrastructure deal at a summit Thursday.

Getting Congress to pass what President Donald Trump hopes to be a $1 trillion package to fund U.S. infrastructure upgrades would be just the first step in a decadeslong endeavor, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue told CNBC on Thursday.

Infrastructure in the United States is "25 years behind at least," Donohue told "Squawk Box" from the sidelines of the chamber's infrastructure summit.

The event brings together business leaders, policymakers and investors to discuss the modernization of the nation's infrastructure. Donohue will reiterate his call for a bipartisan infrastructure deal at the summit Thursday.

"Potholes are everywhere," he said.

Donohue believes fixes needed to U.S. infrastructure include, "bringing up our roads, our bridges, our transit systems and then on larger projects issues of ports and airports." Waterways and energy systems need work as well, he added.

The White House is finalizing its long-awaited infrastructure plan, which would push most of the financing on projects to private investment and state and local taxpayers, according to Reuters. Trump may preview the plan in his State of the Union address later this month.

Donohue is pushing for the administration and Congress to hike in the federal gasoline tax by 25 cents to make the infrastructure plan happen. "The way to pay for it is to increase the federal fuel tax for the first time in 25 years," Donohue said Thursday.

The administration should also encourage additional private and public investments, Donohue said, and strengthen and expand federal loan programs.

"An infrastructure bill is only the beginning," he said. "I really envision a 40-year project."

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

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