WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today Building America's Future (www.BAFuture.org) and stakeholders called on Congress to use the remaining few legislative days of the year to facilitate private investment, economic growth and the creation of jobs through transportation and infrastructure investments.
"A diverse group of organizations and elected officials are standing together to illustrate the support and urgent need for smart infrastructure investment to get our economy moving in the right direction," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA), co-chair of Building America's Future.
"We would prefer to see Congress pass a fully reformed six-year transportation bill but that is not possible by the end of this year," said Governor Ed Rendell (PA), co-chair of Building America's Future. "We are urging Congress to front load some transportation investments now so states and cities can complete fix-it-first projects and improve the safety and efficiency of our roads, bridges and transit systems while at the same time creating jobs."
"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 of 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."
"Transportation infrastructure investment is a proven job generator and the transportation resources provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are having an unprecedented impact in contributing to economic recovery," said T. Peter Ruane, President & CEO, American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). "As such, transportation infrastructure should be a foundation of any job creation package under consideration."
The coalition also called for the inclusion of the accountability and transparency requirements included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"We strongly support the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank to depoliticize infrastructure investment and create major new opportunities to fund vitally important projects," said Bruce D'Agostino, president and CEO of Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). "We also need to assure that this major funding is spent with accountability, transparency, and maximum application of recognized Construction Management Standards of Practice."
"A merit-driven National Infrastructure Bank could be the vehicle for green-lighting those infrastructure projects (from road and rails to ports and pipes) that have the highest return on investment rather than the greatest political reward," said Robert Puentes, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program. "It could truly position the country for the stormy, competitive decades ahead."
The coalition also reiterated the need for Congress to renew efforts to pass a reformed long-term transportation bill as soon as possible.
"The most effective way to boost employment and generate economic growth is by increasing investments in our nation's aging infrastructure," said Stephen E. Sanhderr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, noting that construction unemployment is nearly 20 percent. "That's precisely why Congress must act quickly to pass a jobs bill with significant infrastructure investment and continue to work on a long term surface transportation bill that boosts annual funding across the board."
"With thousands of 'ready to go' highway, bridge and transit projects valued at approximately $57 billion, funding in a jobs bill could help reduce unemployment across many economic sectors while providing lasting investments for all Americans in the long term," said Janet Kavinoky, Director of Transportation Infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "It is imperative, however, that any additional funding builds on strong underlying core programs. The best way to bring back employment in design, engineering, construction, equipment manufacturing and materials production is to provide clarity into the future of the federal highway and transit programs by coordinating any jobs package closely with SAFETEA-LU reauthorization legislation."
"We simply must make it a national priority to repair, modernize, and expand our transportation and other resources," said D'Agostino. "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."
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.
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SOURCE Building America's Future