Ed Mortimer
Former Vice President, Transportation and Infrastructure


May 15, 2017


Americans from coast to coast and on the left and right agree that America’s infrastructure is failing. Just a few weeks ago, the American Society of Civil Engineers unveiled their Infrastructure Report Card, which graded America’s infrastructure as a D+. Our vast network of transportation infrastructure is in trouble, and it needs serious help – soon.

What will it take for lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to pick up this mantle and take real action? We thought a glimpse outside the Beltway was just what Congress needs, so in a new survey, we asked voters for their take on the state of our nation’s infrastructure.

Their answers came through loud and clear:

Bipartisan support for infrastructure

The survey shows broad agreement among voters that infrastructure matters to the economy, to the U.S. workforce, and to Americans’ daily life. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed said they want more federal investment in our country’s infrastructure, and 73 percent said the federal government should take the lead role.

Respondents also indicated that investment in our nation’s transportation infrastructure would help strengthen the economy. In fact, 70 percent said it would help American businesses, and 74 percent said it would create jobs.

Most of all, voters across the spectrum are ready for Congress to take action. Sixty-four percent said they want policymakers to move forward now with an infrastructure package, including 67 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans.

The American people know, just as we do, that strong infrastructure is the backbone of a strong economy. Every day, our transportation infrastructure plays a leading role as millions of business owners and employees commute to work and conduct their business, and as millions more Americans engage with their products and services. At worst, traffic congestion holds up deliveries, crowded ports stall shipments, and unmaintained roads beat up on the trucks and cars we rely on to get efficiently from place to place – these downfalls and more all slow down the pace of business, and therefore, the pace of economic growth.

The American economy is on the up-and-up, but we’re nowhere near where we should be. We can grow faster. We can be more competitive. But we need better infrastructure in order to get there. President Trump affirmed this just last month when he said of modernizing our infrastructure,

“This is necessary as a matter of both safety and economic growth, and it’s necessary to improve our quality of life as Americans.”

We couldn’t agree more. The American business community is optimistic about the opportunities for reform and rebuilding on the horizon, but it’s important that we do this right and tackle the challenge in a meaningful way.

As the process moves forward, we’ll be urging action on a few key principles.

  1. For one, any legislative package should employ a variety of funding mechanisms, and where possible, utilize existing federal programs.
  2. Next, any funding and financing plan should be accompanied by reforms that increase accountability, expedite regulatory processes, and simply make the best use of Americans’ taxpayer dollars.
  3. Finally, and most importantly, a new infrastructure plan should lean heavily on a long-term sustainable funding source to secure the future of our infrastructure – and our nation’s economic competitiveness – for years and years to come.

Bringing an infrastructure modernization plan to life isn’t going to be easy, but we may also never encounter a better or more critical moment to try. Not only is the system on the brink of decay, but the president is ready to make this a priority, bipartisan support for the principle means Congress could well be in a position to support him, and our survey confirms that the American people are eager for action.

It is our fervent hope that our leaders in Washington, D.C. will soon hear this clear call from all across the country: It’s time to rebuild America.

Learn more at http://letsrebuildamerica.com/

About the authors

Ed Mortimer

Ed Mortimer was formerly vice president of Transportation and Infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.