Ahead of Congress’ August recess, U.S. Chamber Executive Director of Transportation and Infrastructure Ed Mortimer keeps up the drumbeat on infrastructure investment with an op-ed for Inside Sources. He stressed the dire importance of finding funding solutions for modernization:
For years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has supported meaningful action to reinforce our once-unequalled infrastructure, and we’ve continued to offer a slate of potential solutions to prove it. Now comes the tough part: In order to turn ideas into action, Ameneeds to make a significant commitment and investment. So how do we pay for it?
Mortimer notes that funding options include federal funding, loan programs, tax-preferred financing, and public-private partnerships (P3s).
According to Mortimer:
The best infrastructure funding solution would make use of all of these options. And let’s not forget about the gas tax. It hasn’t been raised since 1993. It will take courage on the part of lawmakers to raise it, but it’s a common-sense option that should be on the table. Moreover, a long-term, sustainable source for funding the Highway Trust Fund should serve as the anchor for any plan.
He also illustrates the abundant opportunities for partnership that exist across the country, writing:
Outside of increased federal investment, there is a great opportunity to encourage more successful private investment. From the I-495 Capital Beltway High-Occupancy Toll Lanes project in Fairfax County, Va., to the Port of Miami Tunnel, to the Eagle Public Transportation project in Denver and the 91 Express Lanes in Orange County, Calif., examples of successful, entrepreneurial, public-private projects abound.
A long-term federal infrastructure modernization program, followed by greater investment by state, local and private actors, can engender the partnership necessary to ensure our nation has a 21st-century infrastructure network. But without a serious commitment from federal lawmakers, it’s going to be difficult to make the kind of progress demanded by the challenges we’re facing.
The Chamber is committed to repairing and rebuilding our country’s roads and bridges. As Mortimer’s op-ed suggests, private investment is one way to assure that the U.S. has the funding we need to save our infrastructure.