ICYMI: Business Leaders, Government Officials Gather at Business Roundtable to Discuss Infrastructure, Permitting Reform and Workforce

May 17, 2023

On Tuesday, May 16, the United for Infrastructure Steering Committee hosted its signature Infrastructure Week event, “Infrastructure Works for America: Where We Are and the Road Ahead,” at Business Roundtable. The event brought together business leaders and national, state and local government officials to discuss the benefits of infrastructure investments, permitting reform and workforce development. 

Business Roundtable CEO Joshua Bolten spoke to the importance of getting bipartisan permitting reform across the finish line, stating “Above all, we need substantial, serious permitting reform and it feels like we’re on the cusp of that right now. … We’re encouraged by what we see on Capitol Hill with some bipartisan efforts underway and interest from the Administration, and now we need to see policymakers from both sides of the aisle come together, with our help, and enact serious legislation.”

Later in the day, Business Roundtable Infrastructure Chair Brendan Bechtel, Chairman and CEO of Bechtel, joined Maryland Governor Wes Moore and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu for a discussion moderated by Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, President and CEO of Accelerator for America Action, on how investing in infrastructure creates jobs and opportunities in communities across America. They also discussed why workforce development is critical to maximizing the benefits of infrastructure investments.  

On infrastructure investment:

Brendan Bechtel:

“BRT commissioned a study to look at the economic impact [of] every taxpayer dollar invested in infrastructure, and we concluded that [each dollar] generates $4 in economic growth. We concluded that a trillion dollars in infrastructure investment over ten years unlocks, on average, additional household disposable income of $1,800 a year for every family in the United States. Modern infrastructure creates a huge amount of social, environmental and economic benefits.”

Mitch Landrieu:

“Massive investments in infrastructure help build a strong economy and protect our nation’s national security and economic health.”

Governor Wes Moore:

“What we’re seeing is investing in infrastructure, understanding where infrastructure is going to be either the hub or the spoke, investing in things that you can actually move people to where opportunity lies is going to provide me as the state’s chief executive the largest return on that investment and the greatest opportunity to move people to opportunities.”

On workforce development:

Brendan Bechtel:

“The shortage of construction workers is real. It’s our number one concern as a company. … I think it’s [addressing the workforce shortage] the single most important thing we can all do besides permitting reform. … We’re [Bechtel] doubling down on the things we know that work and you mentioned one of them, ARPs, Apprenticeship Readiness Programs. … We’re all in on this. It’s one of the biggest things we’re working on here at the Business Roundtable.”

Governor Moore:

“We are rethinking how an educational framework is better preparing our state to be able to compete and move fast in a 21st century. … And so, when we say partnership, federal government, local government, private sector, and workforce preparation is really how we’re examining all of this going forward.”

Mitch Landrieu:

“You do not have to get a four-year degree to actually be the people that rebuild America. There’s dignity in this work. It’s high paying work. You can build generational wealth. You can support a family.”

Additional speakers at the event included Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Union; Jay Timmons, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers; Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kansas City; Suzanne Clark, President & CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Chairman Sam Graves (R-M0), U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm; Michelle Dippel, Western US President, Executive Vice President, HNTB; Commissioner Eileen Higgins, Miami-Dade County and Chair, NACO Transportation Committee; Mami Hara, and Chief Executive Officer, US Water Alliance.

Learn More: