The critical need for investing in modern and sustainable infrastructure was the focus of a Feb. 11 White House meeting between President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and a bipartisan group of senators from the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee.
- The Senate EPW committee was represented by Chairman Thomas Carper (D-DE), Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and former Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK).
- Biden stated at the meeting that the EPW Committee “is central to everything that’s going to happen” on infrastructure. (White House Remarks and meeting video, Feb. 11). White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki remarked that the meeting “was a reflection of how important it is [for Biden] to meet with bipartisan leaders and have a discussion about what’s required in states and communities.” (White House press conference video, Feb. 11)
- The president noted the importance of investing in infrastructure to maintain Americas’s international competitiveness, referring to China’s advancements in high-speed rail and automobiles by stating, “if we don’t get moving, they’re going to eat our lunch.” (Washington Post, Feb. 11)
- Sen. Cardin said after the meeting that “it's going to be a challenge to… have adequate revenues to fund transportation moving forward.” Congressional focus on an infrastructure package is widely expected to take place after the legislature acts on the next round of COVID-19 relief. (Politico, Feb. 11).
- Sens. Cardin and Carper led a Feb. 9 letter from nearly 50 Democrats from both the House and Senate to Secretary Buttigieg, regarding the need for federal transportation policies to create jobs while also reducing carbon pollution, with an emphasis on reducing vehicle tailpipe emissions.
- In a December 16, 2020 letter, The Roundtable and 12 national real estate organizations provided detailed recommendationsto then President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris that included infrastructure funding and modernization as engines to drive recovery and job growth from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The December industry letter stated, “A strong national infrastructure is vital to the health of the nation’s real estate, and vice versa. Roads, bridges and mass transit enhance the values of nearby properties, which in turn generate greater tax revenues to fund even more infrastructure assets.”
- The Roundtable is also part of Build by the 4th coalition led by U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which encourages the Biden Administration and the new Congress to pass a comprehensive infrastructure deal by Independence Day 2021.
The Biden Administration is expected to reveal its infrastructure package soon as part of its “Build Back Better” agenda to spur economic recovery from the repercussions of the pandemic.
# # #