Chamber, AFL-CIO Chiefs Come Together on Infrastructure Investment
Subscribe today for Free Enterprise Updates
- Latest business trends and best practices
- News about legislation and regulation impacting business
- Business how-to articles from industry experts
- Commentary and interviews with newsmakers in business and politics
Business and labor came together as U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka urged Congress to invest more in America’s infrastructure.
“The oddest couple since Felix and Oscar,” said Donohue of his joint appearance with Trumka before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on February 16. Donohue and Trumka urged members of Congress to set aside their ideological and partisan differences and unite behind policies that rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure system, the physical platform that supports our economy.
“For our part, the Chamber and the Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition is ready to work with you, the AFL-CIO, and anyone else to move forward with investing in America’s economy. There is no greater priority than economic growth,” Donohue told committee members.
The U.S. Chamber supports a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill. During his testimony, Donohue outlined a set of objectives that should be at the top of Congress’ to-do list when formulating policies, programs and investment strategies:
- Get transportation infrastructure to a state of good repair.
- Fix congestion today.
- Create capacity for the future by optimizing systems and building physical capacity.
- Target last mile infrastructure—in particular intermodal freight access—and bottlenecks.
On the issue of funding, Donohue said, “There needs to be a vigorous dialogue on funding and financing, but first we have to agree on the direction we’re going. Everyone needs to keep an open mind. I am well aware of the fiscal constraints facing this Congress and the nation. But we must avoid cutting off our nose to spite our face. Without proper investment and attention to our infrastructure, the United States’ economic stability, potential for job growth, global competitiveness, and quality of life are all at risk.”
Wednesday’s testimony is not the first time Donohue and Trumka have found common ground on the issue of infrastructure investment. In a joint statement issued the day after President Obama’s State of the Union address, the two leaders urged Democrats and Republicans to follow their lead and stand together to support job creation. “America’s working families and business community stand united in applauding President Obama’s call to create jobs and grow our economy through investment in our nation’s infrastructure.”
The president’s most recent budget proposal calls for $556 billion in transportation spending over six years, including $53 billion to advance high-speed rail projects, and $30 billion for a new National Infrastructure Bank to finance large projects with the help of states and private investment—an idea that the Chamber has vigorously supported.
To find out how congressional inaction on infrastructure is affecting your state, go to www.fasterbettersafer.org.