Federal infrastructure funding is overdue. In an era of polarized politics, business and labor, Republicans and Democrats, rural and urban residents all agree. We’ve cited national studies that give our state a “C” in infrastructure adequacy and that document the positive economic benefits of infrastructure investment.
A new report from the National Association of Manufacturers adds evidence and urgency to the arguments for investment. This short video tells the story.
The press release announces the “Building to Win” report contains statements from Fluor Corporation Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Chair David Seaton and NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons that make the key points,
“Infrastructure investment means jobs. It means safer families, better commutes and faster shipments. Manufacturers want to see a game-changing investment in infrastructure because we know that America’s economic competitiveness depends on it,” said Seaton. “For too long, we’ve depended on the investments of the last generation. Now is the time to build for the future—to build for the next generation and to ensure America never again falls behind.”
“Every year, America is falling further behind on infrastructure. Today, infrastructure investment is only one-third of what it was in 1960, and without action on infrastructure, we will lose 5.8 million jobs by 2040. But with an injection of $1 trillion in American infrastructure over time, we will create 11 million jobs,” said Timmons. “There’s clearly bipartisan support to modernize and revitalize our infrastructure, so now we’re calling on Congress to act.”
Key recommendations from the report include:
- Implement strong accountability measures to ensure funds go to projects offering the greatest value for businesses, families and the economy.
- Relieve highway bottlenecks and repair America’s crumbling highways and bridges.
- Create a reliable, user-based, long-term funding stream so users can have the safe, efficient highways needed.
- Accelerate the implementation of NextGen air traffic management technology and upgrade our runways and airports to world-class standards.
- Take an expedited approach to deepen ports, upgrade aging locks and enhance intermodal connections by spending the balance in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.
- Eliminate the maintenance backlog for public transit, commuter rail and passenger rail.
- Promote regulatory and fiscal policies that incentivize continued record levels of private capital reinvestment in our railroads.
- Create an independent, bipartisan transportation commission to spark a policy discussion and oversee a national strategic plan for investments.
- Streamline regulations to reduce the cost of delayed infrastructure.
- Promote new energy infrastructure investments as a means of improving U.S. infrastructure’s resilience to climate change.
- Robustly expand public–private partnerships for drinking and wastewater projects.
- Streamline regulatory processes across multiple agencies and levels of government to foster the use of next generation communications infrastructure such as cutting-edge broadband or 5G technologies.
And, of course, pass the funding bill now. Here’s NAM’s statement on funding:
Lawmakers from both political parties can agree that we need better infrastructure. To achieve that goal, however, Congress must take a bipartisan approach to overcome the biggest challenge of passing an infrastructure bill—how to fund it.
Yesterday’s U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Hearing “Our Nation’s Crumbling Infrastructure and the Need for Immediate Action” was a step toward that end that asked the hard questions about funding. Witnesses representing both business and organized labor agreed that the time is now to modernize the user fees that fund our infrastructure.
Tuesday, while speaking at the NAM Spring 2019 Board of Directors Meeting, Vice President Mike Pence said “This president and our administration are absolutely committed to rebuilding the infrastructure of America. It is time for a major bill from the Congress to rebuild the roads and bridges and ports and highways of America.” And yesterday, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), agreed, saying, “We have a real opportunity to do something really big.” Manufacturers agree—in fact, the NAM Outlook Survey showed a large majority of manufacturers saying that passage of a major infrastructure bill would positively impact their company’s business plans and outlook.
It’s past time.