Efforts to establish key principles for a bipartisan infrastructure plan continued on Thursday with a meeting between congressional members of the Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and Building America’s Future, a bipartisan coalition of public officials from across the country.
Led by U.S. Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), the Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus has established a working group to engage key stakeholders to develop core tenants of an infrastructure plan that meets the needs of all Americans.
Reed, Gottheimer, and other leaders of the coalition met with former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, leaders of Building America’s Future to discuss the infrastructure plan.
“Our mission is to find bipartisan solutions to our nation’s most pressing issues, which include making drastic improvements to our infrastructure,” Reed said. “Like the rest of the country, New York is long overdue for the positive effects this will also have on job growth and our economy. We are thankful to gain insight and support from Gov. Rendell and Secretary LaHood and look forward to continuing our work to build a better future.”
Gottheimer said New Jersey’s infrastructure is “a mess,” and solving the country’s infrastructure challenges in a fiscally responsible way can create jobs and boost U.S. competitiveness on the world stage.
U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY), who heads the Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus’ working group, said people across the political spectrum agree that the “infrastructure crisis” has gone unresolved for too long.
“(Thursday’s) meeting was a positive step forward as we continue to develop bipartisan reforms and policy ideas to fix our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges and set us on a path towards sustainable infrastructure,” Katko said. “I look forward to working with members of the working group and the Problem Solvers Caucus as we finalize and release our infrastructure report.”
Refusing to maintain infrastructure is like refusing to maintain your car, Rendell said, and if you refuse to invest, it will stop running.
“Congress must work together with the administration to create a bipartisan bill that provides long-term funding,” Rendell said. “We must look at infrastructure in terms of a robust investment. It’s an investment because we are creating something of value that is impactful.”
LaHood said constituents are “sick and tired” of potholes and crumbling roads.
“Investing in infrastructure is not only an economic development opportunity for your friends and neighbors — it’s a no-brainer,” LaHood said. “We can’t rebuild America unless we have funding, and that starts with raising the gas tax. Infrastructure must be a national priority or we will continue to fall behind as a nation.”