What They're Saying Around the Country: Build America Investment Initiative

This week, President Obama spoke about the importance of long-term investments in our country's infrastructure in front of Delaware's Interstate 495 Bridge. In his remarks, President Obama discussed how much the economy has rebounded over the past few years and how we've got a "huge opportunity to keep this momentum going...but also to make sure that growth is broadly shared." The President also announced the launch of the Build America Investment Initiative, a government-wide initiative to increase infrastructure investment and economic growth.

The Build America Investment Initiative will continue to build on the progress our economy is making by creating jobs and expanding opportunity for all hardworking Americans. This initiative  has been hailed by leading stakeholders. Here's a sample of what they're saying: 

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber

Oregon applauds the President’s new “Build America Infrastructure Initiative” announced today. We look forward to working with the new federal inter-agency work group, both here in Oregon and through our three-state partnership, the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange (WCX)."

BlackRock —  Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO 

The President's announcement represents a major step forward towards addressing America's infrastructure needs. Our current infrastructure deficit is an economic drag on businesses and consumers alike, and further investment is crucial to fostering economic growth, creating jobs, and keeping us competitive in the global economy.

As these initiatives recognize, private investment will be crucial to successful infrastructure development, especially in light of fiscal constraints on the government. Nonetheless, Congress should continue to develop a more permanent and comprehensive plan to build the 21st-century infrastructure the nation so badly needs.

Building America's Future (BAF) — Michael Bloomberg, Ray LaHood and Ed Rendell, Co-Chairs

President Obama's plan is essential to fostering public-private partnerships so that we can modernize our roads, rails, transit and aviation systems. This is the sort of long-term initiative that our economic future requires," said BAF co-chair and former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

“I am pleased to see Congress is making at least short-term fixes to save the Highway Trust Fund, but what the country really needs is a long-term vision like what the President proposed today,” said BAF co-chair and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.  “We need the construction jobs that come with repairs and maintenance of everything from roads and bridges to ports and airports, but the country also desperately needs improved infrastructure so our companies can compete in a global economy.

Laborers' International Union of North America(LiUNA) — Terry O’Sullivan, General President

LIUNA looks forward to working with the Administration on its plan to use public-private partnerships as a supplemental investment in our nation’s infrastructure. LIUNA members have a strong interest in the success of public-private partnerships for infrastructure as those who build our country and as investors. We cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring that public-private partnerships are structured in a way that leads to high road job creation rather than a race-to-the-bottom. LIUNA pension funds have close to $1 billion invested in private equity, real estate and infrastructure funds that are helping to provide funding for infrastructure projects throughout the U.S. and Canada.

American Public Transportation Association (APTA) — Michael Melaniphy, President and CEO

APTA applauds President Obama for launching the Build America Investment Initiative today that is designed to increase transportation investment by expanding public-private partnerships and putting the Department of Transportation’s credit programs to greater use.  

This innovative financing initiative is another tool in the investment toolbox as the transportation industry works to address our significant infrastructure needs.  APTA is committed to working with the Obama Administration in making sure that the public transportation industry is taking full advantage of every resource to expand public transportation services.

We also will continue to work with the Administration and Congress to enact a multi-year authorization bill that provides for adequate and long-term investment in transportation infrastructure.

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

ASCE looks forward to working with the Obama Administration to positively implement this action in the coming weeks and months.  ASCE supports a comprehensive funding and financing program for operating, maintaining, and improving the nation’s transportation system, which includes P3s, infrastructure banks, bonding and other innovative financing mechanisms.  If utilized appropriately, these financing mechanisms can help leverage available transportation funding and play an important role in delivering projects and managing assets effectively.

LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investor — President Chris Leinberger and Managing Director Christopher Coes

We applaud the administration’s announcement of this government-led effort to encourage greater private-sector investment in America’s infrastructure. Across the country, LOCUS members and local communities are looking for innovative tools and resources to meet market demand for great walkable communities. Initiatives such as the Build America Investment Transportation Investment Center are critical to educating and mobilizing the public and private sectors around effective strategies and new partnerships that will lead to greater investment in America’s infrastructure.

We look forward to working with this administration and with USDOT to ensure that the Build America Investment Initiative and any related efforts are successful.

The Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) — Mort Downey, Founding Chairman

The current Congressional effort to find a temporary fix for Highway Trust Fund shortfalls is only a bandaid and the Administration’s focus is correctly on the need for long term action and adequate resources.  As part of this investment strategy, the Administration’s decision to create institutions to help move public-private partnerships through the process and to expedite the environmental and permits process is another important step.  It’s particularly relevant for the complex intermodal freight investments that have been a key part of the Coalition for America’s Gateway and Trade Corridor agenda. We look forward to helping our members take advantage of the new opportunities that will be created.

United Parcel Service (UPS) Laura Lane, President of Global Public Affairs

The Administration’s new Build America Investment Initiative encourages proven financing policies and programs that will deliver economic growth and stronger communities. However, Congress must also now act to pass legislation funding our nation’s transportation infrastructure network. The state of our roads, bridges, seaports, airports and railroads greatly impacts our global competitiveness, and we need transportation solutions that work to keep America competitive.

American Trucking Associations (ATA) Sean McNally, Spokesman

That while “encouraged” that Congress is working short-term to “prevent transportation projects across the country from grinding to a halt, the President will continue to act on his own… where there is need or opportunity. And right now, there is a real opportunity to put private capital to work in revitalizing U.S. infrastructure.”

Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) Scott Paul, President

Public-private financing can play big a part in rebuilding America, but it should not come at a cost of outsourcing manufacturing jobs. We've built almost all of America's highways and bridges with American-made steel. This initiative should be no different. We can create American jobs through time-tested Buy America laws. Let's put America to work.

Byron Auguste is Deputy Director of the National Economic Council.
Related Topics: Jobs, Economy, Delaware, Pennsylvania
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