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Building America’s Future brings bipartisanship to rebuilding the country

--Obama, Rendell etc.
President Obama at the White House with Building America’s Future co-founders: Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-New York City), Governor Ed Rendell (D-Pennsylvania) and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-California)

For two years now, Building America’s Future has been beating the drum for substantive investment in our nation’s roads, bridges, railways and ports. Yesterday, the bipartisan coalition ramped up its message to Washington with a press conference pushing for a National Infrastructure Bank.

BAF has walked the walk on coalition building from its inception: Founding members include California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Ed Rendell and independent Michael Bloomberg, the thrice-elected mayor of New York City. Yesterday’s event revealed a similar cross-section, with advocates from many corners of transportation.

Amid economic anxiety and disillusionment with “sausage-making” in Washington, BAF’s message is refreshingly simple: Let’s get serious about rebuilding our country and refuse to let politics get in the way.

A National Infrastructure Bank, the subject of legislation introduced by Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, would be an independent entity for selecting and financing major infrastructure projects. Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, a Democrat, plans to shepherd companion legislation, which he originally introduced in 2007 with former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican. Both are active in BAF.

Three features of the NIB lend to its bipartisan appeal:

First, a National Infrastructure Bank would choose projects based on merit, saving money by prioritizing federal funds where they’re most needed and boosting the economy by targeting projects that benefit more Americans.

Second, the bank would allow for a wider array of projects to be considered. It goes beyond paving roads and erecting bridges to include rebuilding broken classrooms, improving water treatment and storage, building high-speed rail and laying down broadband access throughout the country.

Third, the Bank would help break down the silos, so to speak, by compelling us to look at infrastructure in a broader context. Reauthorization of the federal transportation law has been more of an A-9 or Metro section issue. By making infrastructure more interesting and relevant, this proposal offers the potential to push the issue closer to page one.

Those are three good reasons Transportation for America is proud to partner with BAF on getting this bank in business, and we look forward to supporting a growing coalition of supporters to make it happen.

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  1. Diane G.

    14 years ago

    Building America’s Future is a wonderful cause….. Saw the governors on “This Week” this morning, and it was so refreshing to see pols who really seem not to be using rhetoric to get reelected or to advance a party platform. They are clearly doers, and it is about time! As a teacher, I would like to make one further request: please include a renewal of civics education as part of Building America’s Future. It is so desperately needed for our younger generations, yet research shows that social studies education in general has been diminishing in recent years. In a democracy such as ours, that is very sad. Thank you again, Gov. Schwarzenegger, Gov. Rendell, Mayor Bloomberg and others for your vision.
    Diane G.