Create Jobs, Rebuild Infrastructure with National Infrastructure Bank
A broad coalition of union, business, government and academic leaders has called for creation of a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) that not only would propel the rebuilding of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, but also would be a major job-creating engine.
At a Capitol Hill press conference this week, Mark Ayers, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), told reporters:
History has shown that when our nation invests in its core infrastructure needs, economic progress inevitably follows. This is important to remember as we grapple to address the twin problems of economic growth and job creation.
The NIB would direct public and private dollars toward infrastructure projects of national or regional significance. The Obama administration’s fiscal year 2010 budget included $5 billion in seed money for an NIB, but it was not included in the omnibus budget bill.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D.), co-chair of Building America’s Future, a bipartisan group of state and local government leaders, says creation and funding of an NIB “is urgently needed” to address the infrastructure funding shortfalls for national and regional projects.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who introduced legislation (H.R. 2521) to create an infrastructure bank last year, says the bank:
would objectively leverage significant investment into the transportation, environmental, energy and telecommunications infrastructure systems critical to rebuilding America and keeping us competitive in the 21st century. Any strategy for long-term job creation and economic growth must be centered on moving from a consumption economy to an economy that puts people to work building things again.
Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard says infrastructure spending has an impact beyond the jobs it creates for rebuilding, roads, bridges, waterways and transit systems. It can boost manufacturing jobs, too. Says Gerard:
Working people across the country are anxious to see what their elected representatives will do to address the crisis in American manufacturing. Creating a National Infrastructure Bank and passing the jobs bill are two ways the current Congress can demonstrate their commitment to workers and their families.