Jan 22, 2010

Coalition Urges National Infrastructure Bank

AWWA and others urge Obama Administration to help generate investment needed for infrastructure projects nationwide

The American Water Works Assn. (AWWA) joined a broad coalition of infrastructure improvement interests in urging the Obama Administration to create a National Infrastructure Bank to help generate the investment needed for infrastructure projects nationwide.

At a press conference leaders of Building America's Future highlighted their recent letter to President Obama commending him for seeking $5 billion in his 2010 budget to capitalize such a bank, which Congress rejected, and urging him to ask lawmakers for $10 billion in 2011.

"We must renew our commitment to a National Infrastructure Bank that can help leverage public and private dollars, address regional and national needs and spur a rebirth in how our country invests in infrastructure," the group wrote.

“America needs a variety of methods--action by the government and private sector, current and new revenues, and federal leadership and local innovation--to repair and modernize our nation’s infrastructure,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, co-chair of Building America’s Future. "A National Infrastructure Bank would help improve the nation’s roads and highways, bridges, ports, rail (freight and passenger), drinking and wastewater treatment plants, smart grid, broadband and schools."

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger added: "Too many of our cities have structurally deficient bridges and outdated water and sewer pipes still made of wood. Faced with shrinking revenues and budget deficits, the National Infrastructure Bank could help finance projects that will allow cities and states to provide the high quality of life and safety our citizens deserve."

“Sound water and wastewater infrastructure is necessary to public health, a successful economy and our way of life,” said Tom Curtis, AWWA deputy executive director, AWWA. “A National Infrastructure Bank would provide America's water and sewer systems with low-cost capital to increase investment in this vital sector.”