Connecticut has some of the oldest infrastructure in the nation. You can see it every day on our roads, our schools and even in our water treatment plans. But our state not only requires better roads and mass transit, it also needs good-paying jobs. The good news is that for every billion dollars in new infrastructure investment, 47,500 new jobs are also created. That means a plan to solve massive traffic problems like Interstate 95 and the Q Bridge could bring thousands of needed jobs to the region.
In the last surface transportation authorization measure, Congresswoman DeLauro secured more than $100 million in funds for Connecticut's Third District. Almost half of that money will go to the Q Bridge project, which is one of New England's largest ongoing highway construction projects. Some of this funding will go to numerous other important regional projects, including a new Intermodal center in Middletown, the widening of Route 34 in Derby, and planning for improvements to the Route 8 travel corridor. She also has secured more than $3 million in funds for the planned commuter rail station in West Haven.
But no matter how much money the Federal government spends on highways and public transportation, it will not be enough to ease the burden on commuters. And with record federal budget deficits, we can't expect Washington to pay all the bills.
The solution is to begin moving the debate beyond old ways of thinking about transportation and infrastructure funding. That is why Congresswoman DeLauro has introduced the “National Infrastructure Development Act” which would increase the money available for much-needed upgrades, by creating an innovative public-private partnership like Fannie Mae that would invest in and insure infrastructure projects. DeLauro's legislation will create an opportunity to improve our roads and bridges, while creating more than 427,000 new construction, engineering and contracting jobs across the nation.
National Infrastructure Development Bank Act
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the current condition of the infrastructure in the United States earns a grade point average of D and an estimated $2.2 trillion investment is needed over the next 5 years to meet adequate conditions. Every $1 billion in federal funds invested in infrastructure creates or sustains approximately 47,500 jobs and $6.2 billion in economic activity. Investing in our nation’s infrastructure-roads, bridges, highways, transit, housing, water systems, energy grids, broadband and so on-is therefore critical to moving our economy from recovery to long-term growth, keeping the United States competitive globally and improving our way of life.
The National Infrastructure Development Bank Act would establish a National Infrastructure Development Bank, modeled after the European Investment Bank, which would leverage private sector dollars to invest in transportation, environmental, energy and telecommunications infrastructure projects. The Bank would objectively consider the economic, environmental, social benefits and costs of infrastructure projects, as well as other specific criteria, and fund projects of significance. The Bank would provide investment opportunities that would supplement current federal programs creating jobs, spurring economic growth and rebuilding an infrastructure system for the 21st century.
The bank concept is endorsed by the American Council of Engineering Companies, American Society of Civil Engineers, Associated General Contractors of America, Building and Construction Trades Department (AFL-CIO), Building America’s Future, Campaign for America’s Future, Construction Management Association of America, National Construction Alliance II, National Governors Association, PolicyLink, Service Employees International Union, Third Way, Transportation for America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.