BlueGreen Alliance Leaders Join Congresswoman DeLauro to Introduce Infrastructure Bank, Launch National “Repair America” Effort
WASHINGTON, DC (June 27, 2013) – Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, along with BlueGreen Alliance leaders Leo W. Gerard of the United Steelworkers and Mike Langford of the Utility Workers Union of America, came together today to announce the introduction of the National Infrastructure Bank Development Act, legislation they said is necessary to rebuild and repair America’s infrastructure in the face of the impacts of climate change. The BlueGreen Alliance also launched their national Repair America campaign, which is aimed at educating and mobilizing Americans around critical improvements to our everyday water, energy, communications and transportation systems.
“With limited money, innovative financing solutions are crucial to funding critical infrastructure projects, which in turn create good middle class jobs and provide an economic spark that better enables America to compete with other economic power centers around the globe,” said Rep. DeLauro. “An infrastructure bank would help us expand and enhance our existing infrastructure, making the critical investments needed to compete at the highest levels of the global economy. Now is the time to invest in our nation, building better infrastructure systems and a stronger economy. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the president to make this bank a reality.”
The National Infrastructure Bank Act, which was introduced today by Congresswoman DeLauro, would direct investment to transportation, transit and rail projects; environmental infrastructure projects such as enhancing clean water; energy and electric infrastructure projects; and telecommunications upgrades such as to broadband and wireless communication systems. It would leverage public dollars against billions in private investment to rebuild these systems.
“The Infrastructure Bank is a critical part of the solution to putting people back to work and ensuring that our communities are ready for the impacts of climate change,” said Mike Langford, National President of the Utility Workers Union of America. “By investing now in our water and energy infrastructure — including waste water treatment and transmission — we can cut carbon pollution, grow a more efficient economy and create quality jobs for working people.”
A recent report by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) demonstrates that the size and scope of this problem demands comprehensive, national action. America’s infrastructure received a D+ grade and ASCE estimated that we need a $3.6 trillion investment by 2020 to fix what’s broken. Investing $25 billion into an Infrastructure Bank over the next five years can leverage hundreds of billions of dollars in private investment through a variety of financing options.
“The Infrastructure Bank presents a tremendous opportunity to repair the systems that make our economy run — everything from transit, water treatment, water transport, electric utilities, roads, bridges, airports, and public schools,” said Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers. “Repair America is all about taking all the actions we need to take now to ensure that these systems are up to the task and creating good, American jobs.”
Gerard continued, “Buy America will ensure that when we make significant investments in our transportation systems, for example, those projects are produced using domestically sourced American-made products.”
Repair America is the BlueGreen Alliance’s national campaign to bring together union members and environmentalists around critical improvements to the systems we use every day – and systems that are not prepared for the impacts of climate change, including energy, water, transportation, transit and communications.
“We can’t afford to wait any longer to make the necessary investments to fix our most basic systems, eliminate inefficiencies, cut carbon pollution, and create good jobs across the economy,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Repair America is about mobilizing around these improvements, community to community and state to state in order to protect our communities and improve our economy.”