Today, the Infrastructure Working Group—a coalition of national organizations led by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Associated General Contractors—sent a letter to the Senate urging passage of a long-term, robustly-funded surface transportation reauthorization bill ahead of the Sept. 30, 2020 deadline. NAM Director of Infrastructure Catie Kawchak breaks down manufacturers’ immediate need for infrastructure modernization.
What’s the scope of the infrastructure challenge?
NAM data reveals that underinvestment in U.S. infrastructure worsens by the year, and infrastructure investment is only one-third of what it was in 1960. As a result, more than 54,000 bridges across the United States are rated “structurally deficient,” and a majority of our roadway are in less than good condition. Ports and waterways are in disrepair, airports and runways are clogged and congested. But it’s not just transportation infrastructure that needs an upgrade to accommodate a 21st-century manufacturing economy. We need improvements to our water, energy and digital infrastructure as well. It’s unacceptable that America’s infrastructure continues to receive a D+ grade. Now is the time to deliver transformational advancements to the infrastructure that connects our communities and facilitates free enterprise.
How does this challenge affect manufacturers?
Right now, America’s transportation infrastructure doesn’t support our vision for an exceptional America. Manufacturers use roads, bridges, rails, waterways, ports and airports every day—and if shipments are delayed by highway congestion or an unsafe bridge, then the entire production process can be delayed. Modern, just-in-time manufacturing must be incredibly precise to maximize productivity, but without reliable infrastructure, it’s impossible to do that cutting-edge work.
What is the NAM’s solution?
The NAM’s “Building to Win” blueprint offers a comprehensive plan to modernize the infrastructure that makes the American Dream possible. It provides solutions to support workers in the United States, jump-start economic growth, spur job creation, and enhance quality of life by improving and expanding our transportation, energy, water and digital infrastructure so that we can pave the way for the success of new generations. It even lays out a path for Congress to fund these investments.
In just one year, Congress faces a deadline to pass a surface transportation bill. Without this legislation, highway, bridge and transit projects will slow construction timelines and become even more costly. That’s why about 150 members of the Infrastructure Working Group applauded the Senate’s initial work on reauthorization and implored them to finish the legislative process on time. September 2020 may sound like a long time, but passing a surface transportation bill has historically taken longer than a year.
What is the Infrastructure Working Group?
Led by the NAM and AGC, the group demonstrates the breadth of the industries impacted by America’s deteriorating infrastructure. It includes manufacturers, labor, construction, technology, finance, agriculture, retailers, emergency responders and local and state government, among others. There’s broad agreement about the need for effective, efficient infrastructure. We’re standing together to push for action, and now Congress needs to pass infrastructure legislation on time.