State, Local Leaders Drive Home Message to Feds about Infrastructure Investments

To ensure America remains competitive in the global market and has a vibrant economic future, we must invest in our nation’s infrastructure now. 

That’s the message leading voices from government, business and academia will bring to Washington, D.C., and events across the nation during national Infrastructure Week, May 11-15. Set against the backdrop of the Highway Trust Fund’s looming insolvency and the expiration of the federal transportation law known as MAP-21 at the end of May, the theme of this year’s Infrastructure Week—Investing in America's Economy—highlights policies and investments needed to revitalize the country’s infrastructure, rebuild the economy and create a competitive business environment. 

Last summer, Congress chose to transfer enough money to the Highway Trust Fund to keep it solvent through May 2015, however, it did not provide a long-term reauthorization of MAP-21. All indications point toward Congress enacting another short-term solution to important infrastructure program needs, but reversing this trend is critical. Reliance on temporary funding measures has brought uncertainty at the state level, resulting in the delay and cancellation of major highway and transit projects in communities across the country. 

Now in its third year, Infrastructure Week is organized by AFL-CIO, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Building America’s Future, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

As part of the Big 7, a coalition of national organizations representing state and local officials, The Council of State Governments will help host a Congressional briefing May 12, during which a panel of state and local elected leaders will discuss how their communities are meeting transportation infrastructure needs and to call on Congress to swiftly pass a long-term agreement on surface transportation funding. 

Infrastructure Advocacy Day, scheduled for May 13, will offer state stakeholders an opportunity to meet with members of Congress and other federal policymakers, discuss the importance of infrastructure financing and development, and demonstrate broad constituent support for long-term transportation funding solutions. The meetings are part of a CSG Transportation Policy Academy taking place May 11-13. 

“This is a great opportunity for some of the nation’s top transportation leaders at the state level to go up to Capitol Hill and tell Congress, ‘We’re doing our best to make this work and it’s time for you to step up to the plate,’” said Sean Slone, CSG’s Director of Transportation & Infrastructure Policy. “We have transportation committee chairs from three of the five states that have passed major transportation funding packages so far this year joining us for this year’s Transportation Policy Academy during Infrastructure Week. 

“States are passing gas tax increases or coming up with other solutions to transportation funding needs. Meanwhile, Congress is talking about another short-term patch for the Highway Trust Fund. Infrastructure Week brings together a diverse chorus of voices united around the importance of investing in infrastructure. CSG is proud to host part of that essential conversation as part of our policy academy series.”

A complete listing of Infrastructure Week events can be found here.