Congress should immediately create a commission to produce a long-term national infrastructure plan and pass legislation to rebuild our roads, rails, runways and ports, Building America’s Future co-chair and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell testified before the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee at their first hearing of the new Congress.
Rendell also said Congress should create a National Infrastructure Bank and lift federal restrictions on tolling to allow states to control their own destiny when it comes to transportation and infrastructure needs. He emphasized that Washington has ignored the warning signs of crumbling infrastructure systems for too long, and if the U.S. is to stay competitive in the global economy, Congress must pass critical legislation to improve our waterways, aviation systems and more.
“Make no mistake. There are consequences to the federal government’s failure to adequately invest in the nation’s roads, rails, runways, ports and other systems,” said Rendell. “Infrastructure is an economic driver and has the added benefit of creating long-term quality jobs. It improves our lives and enhances our economic competitiveness. To put off these investments—or worse, to devolve all responsibility to the states—is simply shortsighted.”
In addition to creating a commission tasked with creating a long-term national infrastructure plan, Rendell urged Congress to establish a National Infrastructure Bank to assist in financing the critical projects we need. He also listed several specific pieces of legislation that Building America’s Future recommends Congress pass, including a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), the Realize America’s Maritime Promise Act (RAMP) and ensuring that NextGen aviation technology is operational as soon as possible.
“With every passing year that Congress fails to act, it becomes more apparent that America is falling behind our global competitors,” Rendell concluded. “America’s infrastructure spending in real inflation-adjusted dollars is about the same level as it was in 1968 when the economy was much smaller. That time to act is now.”