President’s Transportation Plan Sheds Needed Light on Nation’s Infrastructure Needs, But Lacks Essential Long-Term Solutions
Administration’s Plan to Cut Red Tape, Expand TIFIA Program Are Welcome, But Washington Also Needs to Address Long-Term Funding Shortfalls, Construction Group Notes
The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in response to the release of President Obama’s Infrastructure Investment Plan:
“President Obama is right to continue to focus on the nation’s significant, and growing, infrastructure needs. As he noted in his State of the Union address, the condition of many of the nation’s aging bridges, highways and other essential infrastructure is unacceptably poor. And he is absolutely right to point out the need to identify additional sources of revenue for transportation investments, including from the private sector.
“We look forward to working with the administration as it acts on the key measures in the president’s plan that that were already authorized by last year’s transportation law and require no additional legislation, including expanding the federal infrastructure loan program known as TIFIA and cutting the length of regulatory reviews by at least 50 percent. There is no reason it should take federal officials nearly a decade on average to decide whether to allow or deny new infrastructure projects, for example.
“While we are encouraged by the president’s consistent focus on infrastructure, we hope the administration will expend as much energy identifying ways to address the long-term funding challenges that threaten significant cuts in federal transportation investments over the coming years. Instead of just focusing on one-time investments, we need to address an estimated $76 billion in federal transportation funding shortfalls projected during the next six years. That is why we will work with congressional leadership and administration officials to craft long-term transportation measures that address funding shortfalls. The ultimate goal must be to craft reliable multiyear legislation that puts us on a path to repairing and expanding the nation’s transportation infrastructure so it can continue to support robust economic growth for years to come. ”