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Ed Mortimer, the U.S. Chamber’s executive director for Transportation Infrastructure, testified before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the condition of our nation’s transportation system as well as challenges and opportunities for funding and financing.
- Study after study has shown that investing in transportation infrastructure leads to better safety, faster economic growth and higher quality of life. Not maintaining the infrastructure will have the reverse effect.
- The most recent U.S. DOT conditions and performance report highlighted the current state of good repairs needed for highways and bridges at an estimated $830 billion. Of the total backlog, $394.9 billion (18.8 percent) is required for the Interstate System; $394.9 billion (47.2 percent) is for the National Highway System, and $644.8 billion (77.1 percent) is for Federal-aid highways.
- President Donald Trump has announced his desire to enact an infrastructure investment package, and many in Congress, including leadership, have expressed a willingness to advance such legislation. The Chamber and the ATM Coalition believe this is a once in a generation opportunity to modernize America’s infrastructure, and that this effort is critical to future economic success.
- As this process moves forward, the Chamber believes any package should include the following principles:
- Legislation should focus on actual infrastructure projects whose completion can create greater potential for long-term economic growth.
- Legislation should employ a variety of funding mechanisms tailored to the various infrastructure project lines and, where possible, utilize existing federal programs.
- Additional financing and funding should be accompanied by reforms that increase accountability, maximize and expedite the use of scarce federal resources, and accommodate future needs.
- We believe that business, labor, public transit advocates and other key stakeholders must partner with the Congress to find a long-term, sustainable funding source for the Highway Trust Fund.
- From all levels of government, there is no single funding solution that will solve all of our infrastructure problems. The Chamber believes communities should have a large toolkit of funding and financing options available that can be utilized to provide the infrastructure needed, not just to succeed, but to lead the world in providing economic and social mobility. Improving our current infrastructure will be a key component in modernizing many parts of the country.