Coalition Urges Congress and Obama Administration to Create National Infrastructure Bank
NIB Effective Vehicle for Needed Reforms, Job Creation and Infrastructure Investment
WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, at a news conference on Capitol Hill, a broad coalition of members of Congress, experts and stakeholders called on Congress and the Obama Administration to create a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) to help generate the investment needed for infrastructure projects of regional and national importance.
"America needs a variety of methods -- action by the government and private sector, current and new revenues, and federal leadership and local innovation -- to repair and modernize our nation's infrastructure," said Governor Ed Rendell (PA), Co-chair, Building America's Future. "A National Infrastructure Bank should play a role as a funding and financing vehicle for projects that have major national or regional impact. This is an important reform that is urgently needed to address our nation's infrastructure funding shortfalls."
A National Infrastructure Bank would help improve the nation's roads and highways, bridges, ports, rail (freight and passenger), drinking and waste water treatment plants, smart grid, broadband, and schools.
"Too many of our cities have structurally deficient bridges and outdated water and sewer pipes still made of wood," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA), Co-chair, Building America's Future. "Faced with shrinking revenues and budget deficits, the National Infrastructure Bank could help finance projects that will allow cities and states to provide the high quality of life and safety our citizens deserve."
A National Infrastructure Bank could also serve as an effective vehicle to ensure that long-term funding was maximized and allocated to projects based on merit, rather than politics.
"Funding infrastructure projects that are in the pipeline and can be started in the next year is one of the most effective ways Congress can support job creation and economic growth," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg (NYC), Co-chair, Building America's Future. "But we have to go further, with long-term reform of how projects get built in this country. One way to do that is through creation of an independent, nonpartisan entity -- a National Infrastructure Bank -- that would fund our most vital needs based on merit, not politics."
"Any strategy for long-term job creation and economic growth must be centered on moving from a consumption economy to an economy that puts people to work building things again," said Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). "That is why I introduced the National Infrastructure Development Bank Act, to establish an independent entity that can objectively leverage significant investment into the transportation, environmental, energy and telecommunications infrastructure systems critical to rebuilding America and keeping us competitive in the 21st century. The coalition assembled today demonstrates the broad support behind moving forward with the establishment of a National Infrastructure Bank as part of a bold, forward-looking and transformative U.S. infrastructure policy."
"With a National Infrastructure Bank, Los Angeles and other cities could jump start sustainable transit and infrastructure projects and energize the economic recovery," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D). "It's a win-win for everyone -- for jobs, the environment, public health, and the economy."
"A national infrastructure that facilitates America's competitive position in the 21st century will be essential for our future," said former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE). "New and creative thinking and institutions, like a National Infrastructure Bank, will be required to finance this critical infrastructure."
"Establishing a National Infrastructure Bank is a solution that both sides of the aisle can readily embrace for the simple fact that it is sure-fire economic policy," stated former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO), President and CEO, Gephardt Government Affairs. "The urgency for jobs felt by individuals on Main Street is more acute than ever. A National Infrastructure Bank will fuel economic opportunities at the local, state and national levels. We need the smartest policies in place now to ensure that the federal government does what it can to improve our nation's infrastructure while at the same time improving our economy."
"An independent, adequately capitalized National Infrastructure Bank could leverage significant private investment to rebuild America, strengthening our global competitiveness and creating jobs on a large scale," said Ambassador Felix Rohatyn, President, FGR Associates LLC.
"Whether we're talking about billions of dollars lost as a result of traffic each year or billion gallons of water lost through leaky pipes, failing infrastructure has a negative impact on the checkbook and quality of life of each and every American. Despite this, we have continued to woefully under-invest," said Andrew W. Herrmann, P.E., F.ASCE, Chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure Advisory Council. "Creating an Infrastructure Bank, however, will provide a dedicated source of finance and funding tools we can use to support projects of regional and national significance. We're all familiar with that concept from the work we've done to maintain our own homes or cars, so it shouldn't be surprising that it's going to take the same kind of long-term, sustained investment to improve the nation's infrastructure."
"It will continue to be difficult, if not impossible, to build the kind of complex, multi-year infrastructure projects we need to remain globally competitive without having a viable National Infrastructure Bank," said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). "We need a comprehensive approach to tackling our infrastructure that includes robust multi-year funding, significant regulatory reforms and a National Infrastructure Bank."
"While a National Infrastructure Bank is no silver bullet, if appropriately designed and with sufficient political autonomy, it could improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of future federal infrastructure projects of national significance," said Robert Puentes, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program.
"As the nation struggles to address its growing transportation infrastructure needs, policymakers need to consider all current and new opportunities to support investments in these areas," said Pete Ruane, President and CEO, American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). "A National Infrastructure Bank must be included in that evaluation."
"In this era of constrained finances and mounting needs on a national scale, the Infrastructure Bank would spur innovation in funding large-scale transportation projects critical to job creation and to our future economy," said James Corless, Director, Transportation for America. "Because projects would compete based on merit, it would help to select the investments that do the most to advance our national goals, whatever the mode: rail, highway, ports or public transportation."
"Sound water and wastewater infrastructure is necessary to public health, a successful economy, and our way of life," said Tom Curtis, Deputy Executive Director, American Water Works Association (AWWA). "A National Infrastructure Bank would provide America's water and sewer systems with low-cost capital to increase investment in this vital sector."
"Investing in infrastructure creates jobs in the short term and economic growth in the long term," said Robert L. Borosage, Co-Director, Campaign for America's Future. "A National Infrastructure Bank is a vital step to rebuilding our economy and keeping us competitive in the global marketplace."
"Working people across the country are anxious to see what their elected representatives will do to address the crisis in American manufacturing," said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard. "Creating a National Infrastructure Bank and passing the jobs bill are two ways the current Congress can demonstrate their commitment to workers and their families."
"History has shown that when our nation invests in its core infrastructure needs, economic progress inevitably follows," said Mark H. Ayers, President, Building and Construction Trades Department (AFL-CIO). "This is important to remember as we grapple to address the twin problems of economic growth and job creation. Infrastructure development was the key driver that fueled our nation's industrial dominance in the 20th century, and it can be poised to do so again in the 21st century. To meet our long-term infrastructure needs we need the establishment of a National Infrastructure Bank, whereby federal resources will be allocated more efficiently and effectively. When the National Infrastructure Bank is operational, America's Building Trades Unions and our members will be ready to build the infrastructure that our 21st century economy so desperately needs."
"CMAA strongly supports creation of a National Infrastructure Bank because it would depoliticize infrastructure investment and create major new opportunities to fund vitally important projects," said Bruce D'Agostino, President and CEO, Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). "We simply must make it a national priority to repair, modernize, and expand our transportation and other resources. We need a sound long-term strategy that devotes adequate and consistent funding to these tasks. They cannot be dealt with successfully through any series of quick fixes. We also need to assure that this major funding is spent with accountability, transparency, and maximum application of recognized Construction Management Standards of Practice."
"America's infrastructure faces critical needs that unfortunately go well beyond the capacity of the traditional funding mechanisms currently in existence," said David A. Raymond, President, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the business association of America's engineering industry, representing more than 5, 500 engineering companies and more than half a million engineers and related professional services employees nationwide. "We need to expand those core funding programs, but it's absolutely essential that we go further and employ new financing tools like the National Infrastructure Bank to meet urgent and critical infrastructure needs."
"If we're going to maintain the ability to move people, goods, and ideas that allowed America to become the most prosperous nation in the world, we need to make significant investments in a 21st century infrastructure," said Jim Kessler, Vice President for Policy, Third Way. "A National Infrastructure Bank would make a critical contribution by supporting projects on merit and harnessing public and private capital to bridge the infrastructure gap."
"Europe, China and Japan have all used infrastructure banks to fund major, cross-border projects of long lasting significance," said Maureen L. McAvey, Executive Vice President, Initiatives Group, Urban Land Institute. "An American Infrastructure Bank should operate as a bank, independently underwriting loans to important projects. In the case of major airports, transportation, water and other projects, repayment plans could be developed over the life of the project often 40-50 years. This would bring billions of new money, private and public, to invest in sorely needed modernization and new construction. As population continues to expand and metropolitan areas grow, this is essential."
"A properly structured Infrastructure Bank could help prioritize and accelerate much needed infrastructure projects nationwide," said Dr. Adrian Moore, Vice President, Reason Foundation. "Reason Foundation supports moving forward on designing an Infrastructure Bank that will supplement current funding mechanism and provide greater leverage of user fee revenues and private capital investments."
"The janitors, nurses, building security, public employee, hospitality and other hardworking members of SEIU know that investing in safe bridges is an investment for both the safety of our families and jobs for our community," said Anna Burger, Secretary-Treasurer, SEIU. "We know that investments in building efficiency are investments in both the environment and good paying jobs that can support a family and cannot be outsourced. And we know that investing in telecommunications is an investment in delivering the educational edge our children need for tomorrow's economy and jobs throughout the country for today's workers who stand ready to do them. A National Infrastructure Bank is an important investment in a stronger economic future for generations of Americans to come."
"According to the EPA, America's urban drinking water systems need $116.3 billion worth of infrastructure investment over the next twenty years just to maintain current service levels," said Dan Hartnett, Director of Legislative Affairs, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies. "This figure does not include additional costs related to global climate change adaptation -- which could reach nearly $700 billion by 2050. Clearly, new federal investment will be necessary to help drinking water utilities confront these challenges. A National Infrastructure Bank with a strong water component should be among the options considered by Congress and the Administration to meet this need. To be most effective, the Bank should target assistance to large water projects of regional or national significance -- thus giving urban water utilities a fair chance at competing for funds. The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies looks forward to working with Building America's Future and other stakeholders as their proposal for a National Infrastructure Bank takes shape."
"There is also a national security benefit to be derived from reversing the corrosive condition of U.S. critical infrastructure," said Stephen E. Flynn, Ph.D., President, Center for National Policy. "Acts of terrorism will have substantial political and military value for our adversaries as long as these operations promise to generate large costs or produce political changes that advance their interests. It follows that the more fragile U.S. vital systems are, the more likely it is that terrorists will assume they can cause the kind of fallout that makes these attacks worth pursuing."
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Building America's Future (www.BAFuture.org) is a bipartisan and national organization dedicated to bringing about a new era of U.S. investment in infrastructure that enhances our nation's prosperity and quality of life. Comprised of state and locally elected officials from around the nation, Building America's Future seeks to advance a new national vision for infrastructure investment that focuses on economic growth and global competitiveness, job creation, and environmental sustainability. Please follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/infrastructure2), Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Building-Americas-Future/93937354725), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/bafinfrastructure).
SOURCE Building America's Future