WASHINGTON—Tire, manufacturing and small business associations generally expressed support for the agenda presented by President Trump in his Jan. 30 State of the Union address.
Commenters were especially encouraged by his $1.5 trillion infrastructure funding proposal during the speech, but also praised his positions on other issues.
Labor unions, however, claimed Trump was not keeping his campaign promises to American workers, particularly his pledge to get tough on trade.
For the transportation industry, the most important part of Trump's speech was his call for legislation to fund and direct sweeping infrastructure improvements.
"I am asking both parties to come together to give us safe, fast, reliable and modern infrastructure that our economy needs and our people deserve," the president said.
"Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private-sector investment," he said. "Any bill must also streamline the permitting the permitting and approval process—getting it down to no more than two years, or even one."
The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association said it was encouraged by the president's statement, as did the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
"Sound infrastructure is crucial to the nation's industrial competitiveness and to tire manufacturers who need reliable ports, rails and roads to bring necessary materials to factories and then move completed products rapidly to the market," said USTMA President and CEO Anne Forristall Luke.
AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright also said he was pleased by Trump's call for infrastructure funding.
"AASHTO has for years called for a long-term strategy to shore up the Highway Trust Fund in order to maintain federal investment in surface transportation," Mr. Wright said.
Both Luke and Wright said they looked forward to working with Congress and the Trump administration to advance a long-term infrastructure funding bill.
David French, senior vice president-government relations for the National Retail Federation, expressed approval of both of Trump's infrastructure proposal and other portions of the State of the Union address.
"Decades of underinvestment have left much of the transportation system crumbling, creating bottlenecks that increase costs and make it increasingly harder for American companies to expand their businesses," French said.
He also said he agreed with the president's call for making changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, although he called for caution in that area.
"Retailers agree with the president that the time has come to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has boosted trade with Canada and Mexico for more than two decades," he said. "But NRF believes the priority should be to 'do no harm,' and that threats by the White House to pull out of the agreement should be a non-starter."
NAFTA also was on the mind of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka when he criticized both Mr. Trump's speech and his performance on trade issues.
"Last night, President Trump painted an everything-being-great picture of America that, while optimistic, is not the reality for most working families," Mr. Trumka said.
"While he's rightly acknowledged problems in trade, America's workers are still victim to corporate-designed deals, and last night he offered no solutions to make NAFTA benefit working people," Mr. Trumka said. "While he recognizes the crisis of outsourcing jobs, his tax bill actually encourages corporations to do it."
Last night, President Trump painted an everything being great picture of America that while optimistic and may be how his friends are living, is not the reality for most working families. #SOTU— Richard L. Trumka (@RichardTrumka) January 31, 2018
Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), criticized the Trump administration for failing to give import relief to U.S. steel manufacturers or to obtain trade concessions from China.
"While I'm pleased the president touched on trade and manufacturing in his State of the Union address, rhetoric alone doesn't translate into policy," Mr. Paul said.
Very concerned after #SOTU about the direction of Trump's trade and infrastructure policies. Trade was all rhetoric, nothing new, and could have been given by Obama, Bush, or even Clinton. Infrastructure included no Buy American commitment. We've got work to do.— Scott Paul (@ScottPaulAAM) January 31, 2018
On the other hand, Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, had nothing but praise for the president's speech and agenda.
"The president made 2017 the Year of the Manufacturer with his unrelenting focus on improving the lives of manufacturing workers," Mr. Timmons said. "Now he is clearly aiming to make 2018 another banner year for manufacturers in America."
Juanita Duggan, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, also had nothing but praise for the president.
"President Trump delivered a strong economic message to small business owners in his first State of the Union address," Duggan said.
"2017 displayed a historic level of optimism among small business owners, and that is a direct reflection of the positive small business policies enacted over the last year," she said.