President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thomas Donohue delivered his annual State of American Business address last week and called for significant action to modernize our infrastructure as a vital tool that is integral to opportunity and must treated with great urgency. This announcement coincides with strong voter support – the latest polling from Politico reveals that 79 percent of Americans want to see increased federal investment in infrastructure. To ensure the nation’s long-term economic growth and competitiveness, an infrastructure modernization plan must be enacted.
Specifically, the Chamber laid out the following infrastructure priorities they would like to address this year:
- Enact a long-term infrastructure modernization bill.
- Enact changes to ensure that there is sufficient dedicated revenue to maintain the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).
- Provide a toolkit of options for supplemental funding and financing of other critical infrastructure including through public-private partnerships (P3s), dedicated user fees, and revolving loan programs.
- Continue to streamline the federal permitting process, including the use of concurrent reviews and time limits for agency decisions.
- Encourage similar permitting reforms at the state and local levels.
ASCE is a member of the Chamber-led Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) coalition, and has long advocated for numerous improvements to our transportation infrastructure system including fixing the HTF through a 25-cent increase to the federal motor fuels tax. As ASCE’s government relations team continues to advocate for the need to fix our infrastructure system, we will continue to engage with the business community and other stakeholders. Leaders from all levels of government, business, labor, and nonprofit organizations must come together to ensure all investments are spent wisely, prioritizing projects with critical benefits to the economy, public safety, and quality of life, while also planning for the costs of building, operating, and maintaining the infrastructure for its entire lifespan.
American families are still losing $3,400 in disposable income per year, which is essentially $9 a day, because of the lack of action. Now is the time for leadership and we continue to urge Congress and the Administration to work together to fix our infrastructure and strengthen our economy.