Investing in Infrastructure is Key to Economic Success
Our nation faces extraordinary infrastructure challenges. President Biden, Congressional leaders and almost every federally elected official has promised increased infrastructure investment, and polls routinely show a supermajority or more of voters support these efforts. With our nation seeking avenues of recovery from the economic ravages inflicted by COVID-19 pandemic, Congress needs to come together to approve infrastructure legislation that leads and enables the American economic comeback – both near- and long-term. This will provide more jobs and opportunities than any direct payment, tax cut or other stimulus measure. NSSGA members are poised to deliver the resources needed to adequately improve our infrastructure and are ready to partner with policymakers to solve these daunting challenges.
Pass Multi-Year Surface Transportation Reauthorization
It is imperative Congress approves a bipartisan, robust and sustainable multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill that will continue federal infrastructure investment for all communities. Short-term extensions increase infrastructure costs significantly and delay project implementation.
Maintain Support for Highways
Highways are the lifeblood of America, providing the means for transportation of people, goods, services, and medicine to both rural and urban communities. Highways must continue to receive the dedicated investments needed to advance projects that increase vital access, reduce congestion, and improve the lives of all Americans. NSSGA supports continued utilization of the long standing and proven 80-20 revenue ratio for highways and transit investments out of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).
HTF Solvency Must be Addressed
Without additional Congressional intervention, the HTF will be financially insolvent within the next two years. The next reauthorization bill must incorporate visionary and evolutionary revenue increases to avoid this disastrous outcome. NSSGA supports revenue options to sustain the HTF and create financial certainty, including vehicle-miles-traveled (VMTs), public-private partnerships (P3s), bonding measures and the raising and indexing of the federal gas tax, which has been unchanged for nearly 30 years.
One Federal Decision
The positive effects of increased infrastructure investments on the economy are only realized once the funds are efficiently and responsibly deployed into our communities. That said, under today’s regulatory environment, public works project execution and infrastructure planning takes vast amounts of time and resources due to duplicative review processes and applications. NSSGA recommends incorporating policies like One Federal Decision into any infrastructure proposal to responsibly streamline project application timelines while maintaining appropriate federal oversight.
NSSGA strongly believes Congress should maintain and support materials-neutral, performance-based research, and investment in building materials solutions that enhance the durability, resiliency, performance and sustainability of our nation’s infrastructure. Policymakers should not limit critical research dollars or promote one material over another. All materials and innovative solutions must be eligible to access these opportunities. Projects should be chosen on their merits; decisions should be left to engineers and others with recognized technical expertise in designing and executing projects. This will ensure only the best solutions that truly solve our infrastructure challenges are delivered in the most cost-effective way.
Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)
Aggregate materials are a critical component for the various Army Corps of Engineers projects covered under WRDA that improve ports and harbors, enhance waterway infrastructure traffic, protect our shorelines and mitigate flooding in our communities. NSSGA supported the bipartisan efforts to pass WRDA in the last congress and to finally open the entire Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for relevant projects in the coming years. NSSGA urges Congress to continue this investment and pass WRDA 2022 before the current authorization expires.
NSSGA supports efforts to make continued improvements to U.S. runways, taxiways and other construction needs. The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) provides grants to fund construction of critical safety, security and capacity projects at airports of all sizes and is supported entirely by users of the aviation system through the Airport and Airways Trust Fund (AATF). NSSGA supports an AIP baseline of at least $3.5 billion to ensure the long-term viability of small, medium and large airports. NSSGA also supports efforts to increase the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC). Last raised in 2000, the PFC creates additional resources for much-needed airport infrastructure improvements. Unfortunately, the PFC is not keeping pace with our airport infrastructure needs. Congress must modernize the PFC to maintain and improve our nation’s airports, which are critical to advancing our national economy, improving airline safety and the air traveler experience.