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Groups Press Candidates on Infrastructure

Thursday, October 13, 2016

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A group of industry organizations has asked the two major-party presidential nominees to keep long-term infrastructure solutions as part of their presidential plans.

Trade associations including the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials and Associated General Contractors joined with labor groups including the International Union of Operating Engineers and Laborers’ International Union of North America in writing to both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican hopeful Donald J. Trump on the topic of infrastructure. In all, 34 organizations signed the letters.

Need for Sustainable Funding

The letters accuse Congress of failing to create sustainable sources of revenue for the Highway Trust Fund, keeping funding for infrastructure uncertain and limiting the number of new projects taken on by state and local governments.

The groups note that President Obama’s Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and the earlier MAP-21 Act made improvements to federal infrastructure organization, but have been negated by the lack of a sustainable solution for dwindling highway funds.

White House
Photo: Andreas Praefcke, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A group of industry organizations has asked the two major-party presidential nominees to keep long-term infrastructure solutions as part of their presidential plans.

Both candidates have expressed support for increasing infrastructure investment as president. Clinton unveiled a $275 billion infrastructure plan as part of her economic platform late in 2015; Trump countered this past August by announcing he would double that investment.

Clinton's plan includes $250 billion in direct funding for projects, and $25 billion to start a national infrastructure bank. Trump has said his plan would involve government-issued infrastructure bonds purchased by private investors.

The industry groups say that despite the big promises, neither candidate has been particularly specific about how the investments would work and be sustainable.

"We believe that an infrastructure package needs to include, as a foundation, additional sustainable revenue to ensure the permanent solvency of the Highway Trust Fund," the groups said in their letters to the candidates.

Overpass worksite
© iStock.com / YuryGubin

The American Society of Civil Engineers, which also signed the letters, contends that an additional investment of $144 billion per year would be necessary to fight the United States’ aging infrastructure woes.

While it does mention the failure to increase the federal excise tax on gasoline as one problem, the letter does not go into detail regarding exactly what steps could lead to the kind of investment that the groups say is needed.

The federal gas tax, the main source of revenue for the Highway Trust Fund, was last raised in 1993. The fund has been subject to numerous stopgap funding plans and temporary infusions from the U.S. Treasury's General Fund numerous times in the past decade.

Billions Needed Annually

The American Society of Civil Engineers, which also signed the letters, contends that an additional investment of $144 billion per year would be necessary to fight the United States’ aging infrastructure woes. The professional organization calculates that American families lose about $3,400 each year on average as a result of inefficiencies caused by inadequate infrastructure.

Concrete trade groups including the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, American Concrete Pavement Association and American Concrete Pipe Association signed the letter. The industry groups are joined in the letters by other organizations that rely on infrastructure, such as AAA, the American Highway Users Alliance and PeopleForBikes.

Read the letters to Clinton and Trump in their entirety on the Associated General Contractors website.

   

Tagged categories: AASHTO; American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); Asia Pacific; Associated General Contractors (AGC); EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Funding; Government; Infrastructure; Latin America; North America; Program/Project Management

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