Yesterday, I joined a tremendous cross section of civic and private sector leaders, including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, all united in a common mission: reinforcing and revitalizing a cherished American asset, infrastructure.
As Chair of the Business Roundtable Infrastructure Committee, I was proud to kick off Infrastructure Week 2017. Members of the Business Roundtable are encouraged and energized by the growing momentum for investing in infrastructure, which in turn enables job creation and economic growth.
This is a critical turning point for our nation’s future. Modern infrastructure is a strategic asset that must be maintained and upgraded to ensure the continued health, safety and prosperity of our people and our nation. Unfortunately, America’s transportation, water, and energy systems have not kept up with the demands of today’s economy and the nation’s growing population.
America’s business leaders understand the urgency of this challenge and are committed to smart, innovative strategies to maintain and upgrade our nation’s roads, sea and air ports, water systems and other infrastructure assets. To provide business input to policymakers through this effort, Business Roundtable is marking Infrastructure Week by releasing our plan for action, Back in Business: A Blueprint for Renewing America’s Infrastructure.
This blueprint contains guiding principles to advance the development of 21st century American infrastructure. We propose harnessing the power of private investment and innovation; advancing smarter regulations; embracing self-sustaining “user pay” models; and improving our management of existing infrastructure assets. The blueprint also offers specific recommendations for surface transportation, waterways, aviation, drinking and wastewater, energy and financing –all designed for policymakers to put into action.
The World Economic Forum ranks the overall quality of U.S. infrastructure as 12th in the world, falling below major competitors like Japan and France. Improving our competitive position will require making consistent, long-term investments starting now. Delay means further deterioration and the likelihood of even more costs in the future.
At CH2M, we partner with governments, communities, businesses and organizations to tackle the world’s toughest infrastructure, facility, energy, and natural resource challenges. For example, In Washington, D.C., where we kicked off Infrastructure Week, we are managing the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, a project to restore the long-neglected Washington, D.C., riverfront neighborhood. We are working to leverage private investment to revitalize the area by converting highways to urban boulevards, improving connectivity between neighborhoods and creating a cleaner river environment featuring waterfront parks and recreation areas.
In this effort and so many more, we see firsthand that investing in infrastructure makes communities stronger and helps deliver the job creation, growth and quality of life that allows all Americans to share in the nation’s prosperity.