In October, after the Board of Directors for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) unanimously adopted a resolution reaffirming its commitment to competitive infrastructure investments with the launch of its “Building to Win” initiative, the NC Chamber joined NAM in putting our support behind this bold effort. The health of America’s infrastructure systems is among the most important factors that will determine how effectively we can continue to bolster economic growth as we move further into the 21st Century. However, due to shortsighted measures that have so far only provided stop-gap solutions for transportation funding, federal investments in these vital networks continue to lag far behind the level where they need to be.
For example, as outlined in this summary from NAM, when looking solely at current funding trends for federal highways and bridges it becomes easily apparent that our annual spending level of $88.3 billion fails to reach even 50 percent of the level we need to hit to fully fund this vital component of our transportation network. With an additional $91 billion commitment needed to reach that level, current trends are projected to ultimately leave us with a cumulative 10-year funding gap of $1.1 trillion if nothing is done to build on these investments. Fortunately, NAM’s “Building to Win” proposal includes a call to action for federal leaders to go big and go bold on this front.
Contained in the full plan are descriptions of specific actions and revenue estimates for a variety of funding options. If acted upon, NAM states that these actions would not only strengthen our nation’s economic competitiveness, but also help to deliver a world-class transportation infrastructure network that all Americans will benefit from for decades to come. You can click on the summary above to see how far other components of our federal transportation network need to go to reach adequate funding levels, and why these types of investments are so essential for supporting continued economic growth. In addition to our efforts with NAM, the NC Chamber continues to work with other aligned organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Council of State Chambers (COSC), to support these important investments in our nation’s transportation future.
Here in North Carolina we took a big step toward protecting our state’s transportation future in 2015. But as with federal investments, continually ensuring adequate transportation funding at the state level requires an ongoing commitment. The need for additional investments has been outlined in detail in the recently revamped report, Bridge to a Stronger Future, originally commissioned by the NC Chamber Foundation in 2014. In 2017 and beyond, the NC Chamber is committed to building on our initial investments by pushing for ever more efficient project delivery over the entire network, the expansion of a statewide infrastructure bank, as well as further diversification of revenue sources. For more information about the NC Chamber’s proactive approach to transportation and infrastructure security, contact Jake Cashion, director of governmental affairs, at email@example.com.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber