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Trump taps LeFrak, Roth to head infrastructure council

Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth, two developers who are known to be President-elect Donald Trump’s closest friends, have been tasked with overseeing the incoming administration’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

Trump announced the appointments during an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The two, who will jointly head “a council of builder and engineers,” have reportedly accepted the positions.

“They’re pros,” Trump told the WSJ. “That’s what they do. All their lives, they build. They build under-budget, ahead of schedule.”

LeFrak and Roth were strong supporters of Trump’s candidacy. LeFrak, who heads the LeFrak Organization, donated $100,000 to the Trump campaign, according to a previous report from the Real Deal. Meanwhile, Roth served as an adviser to the campaign. Roth’s firm, Vornado Realty, also has a stake in Trump’s 1290 Sixth Avenue office tower. Representatives for the two executives declined to comment on the appointments.

Trump earlier promised to allocate $1 trillion in infrastructure spending over the next decade. Details remain elusive on how the funds will be used. Nonetheless, the figure is higher than the budget under President Barack Obama. In December of 2015, Congress approved $305 billion in infrastructure spending over five years. The Obama administration had proposed $478 billion.

“We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it,” Trump said during his victory speech.

LeFrak had earlier warned of radical change due to the Trump presidency. During the NYU Schack Institute’s annual conference last November, LeFrak said: “We already had major renovations as a result of 9/11. Sandy’s been cleaned up. Now we have a hurricane Donald.”

“I would tell everybody here that if you think that whatever went down in the past is going to continue, then you will be in for a shock. There’s no question that there’s going to be some major changes,” he said.

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