WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — In Response to President Donald Trump promising infrastructure spending in his joint address to Congress, Representatives Donald Norcross (D-NJ) and David McKinley (R-WV), co-chairs of the Building Trades Caucus, are leading a bipartisan letter to the president detailing national infrastructure priorities to rebuild our country and create jobs.
“Throughout the campaign and again in last night’s speech, President Donald Trump promised American workers he would invest in infrastructure and create jobs” Congressman Norcross said. “Democrats and Republicans in Congress are ready to work with the president on infrastructure, but we need to see a plan from the White House that includes an a wide distribution of investment, training programs to prepare workers for these new jobs, and protections to raise wages.”
“Fixing our nation’s infrastructure is an area where both parties can find common ground. By rebuilding our roads, tunnels, and bridges, we can create new, good-paying jobs and put more Americans back to work,” Congressman McKinley said. “We can also create new opportunities for workers by expanding access to broadband internet and investing in new energy infrastructure projects. It’s time to set aside our differences and focus on ways to grow our economy and prioritizing these issues will do just that.”.
Before his election to Congress, Norcross worked as an IBEW electrician and president of the Southern New Jersey Build Trades Council. McKinley is a civil engineer and strong advocate of investing in America’s energy infrastructure. The letter was also signed by Representatives Bob Brady (D-PA), John Delaney (D-MD), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Dan Donovan (R-NY), John Garamendi (D-CA), Gene Green (D-TX), Peter King (R-NY), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Kathleen Rice (D-NY) and Linda Sánchez (D-CA).
“As members of the bipartisan Congressional Building Trades Caucus, we look to work together with your Administration to create a broad-based strategy to meet the United States’ infrastructure needs,” they wrote in the letter. “The Building Trades Caucus is comprised of Members from around the country and both sides of the aisle with extensive experience and interest in the building and construction trades industry. Since its inception, the caucus has worked towards many of the same goals you aspired to during your campaign: advancing policies on behalf of the American worker.” Click here for a full copy of the letter.
They listed a specific list of priorities for the president to include in any infrastructure plan:
- Expansive Definition of Infrastructure – While it is important to upgrade our roads, bridges and tunnels, those are not the only pieces of infrastructure that are key to the success of businesses in a modern economy. As you endeavor to revive manufacturing in America, we will need a strong transportation infrastructure that includes ports and rails capable of efficiently handling the rise in exports. Businesses will also need access to a diverse array of tools like high-speed internet, a secure, smart and resilient energy grid, and clean water just to name a few.
- Distribution of Infrastructure Funding – While infrastructure investments are needed everywhere in America, as you crossed the country during the election you undoubtedly saw that some areas of the country have shared more richly in previous infrastructure investments than others. In crafting any package, we urge you to seek a fair funding distribution mechanism, to ensure all corners of the country can address their unique infrastructure challenges.
- Prevailing Wage – For the last century, prevailing wage has been a crucial tool for the federal government to ensure it gets a good return on its investments while not artificially depressing the wages of workers in localities where federal dollars are spent. The use of prevailing wage prevents a race to the bottom among contractors, a race that would lead to a shoddy product and a greater cost to the taxpayers, and ensures the income derived from these families sustaining wages is reinvested into local communities. Capital investments in infrastructure are meant to be durable investments that last for centuries at a time. In crafting any infrastructure package, we urge you to include the use of prevailing wage in order to protect the taxpayers’ investment and ensure the highest quality infrastructure for the American people and businesses.
- Utilizing Existing Apprenticeship Infrastructure – In order to put Americans back to work rebuilding our infrastructure, they will need the skills and training necessary to succeed on a modern worksite. The safest, most highly skilled and productive construction craft workers receive their training through privately-funded, registered apprenticeship programs that utilize a labor-management partnership. These programs provide the most current and state-of-the-art curricula needed to meet the certifications of a modern construction workforce. In order to maximize the efficiency of taxpayers’ investment into infrastructure, we urge you to avoid duplicating education and training efforts and instead rely upon the existing registered apprenticeship model.
- Streamlining the Permitting Process – As someone who is familiar with the building and construction process, we know you are keenly aware of the problems that can arise from a costly and arduous permitting processes. Not only does it increase the costs of the project, but the uncertainty can cause investors to walk away from projects or decline to invest in the first place. That means fewer investments in our infrastructure and fewer jobs for American workers. In any infrastructure package, we urge you to find ways to responsibly streamline and expedite federal permitting processes so that we can get Americans back to work as soon as possible. In the meantime, we urge you to include a suite of currently engineered and permitted projects that work can begin on immediately, while some of the larger and more complex projects work their way through the permitting process.
- Utilizing a Mixture of Traditional and Innovative Funding Mechanisms – While nearly everyone agrees upon the need to invest in our infrastructure, challenges often arise in determining how to pay for those investments. In crafting any proposal, we urge you to consider utilizing a mixture of traditional and innovative funding methods.