During “Infrastructure Week” and following the announcement from Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer that President Trump tentatively agreed to work on a $2 trillion infrastructure package, the BlueGreen Alliance and its labor and environmental partners released a set of infrastructure priorities and policy recommendations.
Along with the priorities, a letter to House and Senate leadership was sent. The letter is signed by the leaders of: United Steelworkers; Sierra Club; Communications Workers of America; International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART); International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers; Utility Workers Union of America; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Defense Council; Union of Concerned Scientists; American Federation of Teachers; Environmental Defense Fund; League of Conservation Voters; United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters; and the BlueGreen Alliance.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)’s 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of “D+,” and estimated that getting to a grade of “B” would require a significant federal investment over the next 10 years. BlueGreen Alliance research has found that investing an estimated $2.2 trillion in key sectors of America’s infrastructure has the potential to support or create an additional 14.5 million job-years across the U.S. economy, add a cumulative $1.66 trillion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over 10 years, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution and boost climate resilience, versus a business as-usual approach.
“Our nation’s infrastructure faces a critical level of disrepair. Years of neglect have left us with unreliable systems that endanger essential utilities such as water, gas, and electricity,” said D. Michael Langford, President of the Utility Workers Union of America. “If implemented, the priorities released today with our partners in the BlueGreen Alliance would address this perilous situation while creating millions of good jobs and preparing the critical systems communities rely on to manage the impacts of climate change.”
The group calls for a robust investment across a number of sectors, including: investing in grid resiliency; reducing and repairing methane leaks in natural gas distribution; addressing lead in drinking water; rebuilding school infrastructure; expanding transit and electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and reclaiming abandoned mine land. Additionally, the priorities call for the inclusion of strong labor and procurement standards, a focus on resiliency and pollution reduction, and hiring and procurement policies aimed at benefiting communities and local workers—especially for people of color and low-income communities.
“Leaders from across the political spectrum have said infrastructure is the one area where Congress could rise above politics as usual and deliver big—for workers, wildlife, and communities. Congress and the White House should seize this opportunity to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, pipelines, and rails and to invest in workers, support community resilience, and act on climate change,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The BlueGreen Alliance’s infrastructure priorities lay out a thoughtful and realistic roadmap, not simply to patch failing roads and bridges, but to build the resilient, climate-smart infrastructure we need for the next century.”
“Repairing and modernizing our nation’s crumbing infrastructure is a massive task, but done right—with strong labor and procurement standards—we can boost our economy, create millions of jobs, safeguard our environment, reduce our emissions, and better prepare our communities for the impacts of climate change,” said Mike Williams, Interim Co-Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “This is an issue that impacts every American and one that has been ignored for far too long. We need smart, robust, immediate action. The policies we’ve laid out here will put us on a path to lead the world in building the innovative infrastructure systems of the future.”