The message that #InfrastructureMatters made its way to Capitol Hill today, as American business, labor, citizen groups, and more met with members of Congress and their staffs. Mid-day, the group took a break from Infrastructure Week Advocacy Day meetings to come together at a congressional briefing. Building America’s Future Co-Chair Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) started the day by pointing out the high percentage of state initiatives to improve infrastructure that are approved by voters.
The briefing included remarks from all four of Infrastructure Week’s Congressional Co-Chairs: Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Rep. Garett Graves (R-LA), and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY). Each Member of Congress took a few minutes to talk about why #InfrastructureMatters and highlighted the important work Infrastructure Week and its participants are doing.
Sen. Cardin talked about the importance of the issue, and shared his personal experience of the commute from Baltimore to D.C. being far longer than it should be—typically over 2 hours, rather than 45 minutes. Sen. Capito talked about a successful grassroots campaign in her state launched by a local radio personality, known as #FTDR—fix the (censored) roads. Rep. Graves trumpeted how preventative investment is more cost effective than emergency repairs, both from a safety and economic standpoint. And Rep. Maloney shared the policy idea of increasing our investment in infrastructure to align with 5% of our nation’s GDP.
After Rep. Maloney set the stage well, ASCE’s Casey Dinges presented the new Failure to Act study, highlighting that poor infrastructure is costing every American household for $9 a day, and posing the question (and solution) “Would you be willing to pay $3 a day per family for better infrastructure?,” as we could close the investment gap in 10 years if we invested $3 more a day per family.
Members from the business and labor communities, including Liuna, Case, and AECOM, also shared perspectives on the importance on infrastructure investment.
A wide variety of interests were represented in the room, but as Infrastructure Week more broadly showcases, all these voices strongly agree on the need to rebuild and renew our infrastructure because it matters to our economy and quality of life.