Calls for Investment to Maintain Current Assets, Build New 21st Century Infrastructure
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today discussed the crucial need to repair, improve, and upgrade our infrastructure to help maintain the United States’ competitiveness in the changing global economy at the “America’s Infrastructure Opportunity: Bridging the Financing Gap” conference.
“We’re living at a time where we’re not even doing the work that’s necessary to have our ports ready for the ships coming through the Panama Canal as it’s brought up to the 21st century standard,” Bennet said during the panel discussion. “People at home know that we’re falling down on the job. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize that we don’t even have the grace or dignity to maintain the assets that our parents and grandparents built for us, much less build the infrastructure our children are going to need to compete in the 21st century.”
Earlier this year, Bennet introduced the bipartisan Partnership to Build America Act, which would help jumpstart our nation’s capability to build and repair roads, bridges, highways, ports, schools, and other infrastructure projects. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), the Republican lead cosponsor of the bill, also participated on today’s panel.
The Bennet-Blunt proposal establishes a $50 billion infrastructure fund that can potentially support hundreds of billions in loan guarantees and financing authority for state and local governments. The fund would finance transportation, energy, communications, water, and education infrastructure projects across the country. The bill is not a replacement for keeping the Highway Trust Fund solvent, which is an urgent priority before Congress. But it is a bipartisan proposal to help capitalize infrastructure projects across Colorado and throughout the U.S.
“People at the local level are not waiting for Congress to get its act together. They are thinking of all kinds of creative ways to produce new infrastructure outcomes,” Bennet added. “This [bill] will be one more tool in the toolkit.”
The conference was hosted by McGraw Hill Financial, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Bipartisan Policy Center.