Funding American Renewal: Congresswoman DeLauro to speak on National Infrastructure BankPrintable Version
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
On May 5, CNP hosted Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), to discuss the legislation she has championed to create a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB). DeLauro sees such a bank, roughly modeled on the European Development Bank, playing an essential role in financing the rebuilding of our nation's bridges, highways, and other vital infrastructure systems. Rep. DeLauro pointed to the need for a creative response to the fiscal crisis at the state and local levels that is eroding the nation's capacity to renew America's aging foundations. A National Infrastructure Bank would provide an alternative way to finance the nation's most pressing infrastructure needs and ensure our capacity to compete globally.
Rep. DeLauro warned that the United States is lagging far behind other nations in the amount of resources it devotes to building and maintaining infrastructure -- noting that China is spending close to 9% of its GDP on infrastructure, while the United States invests only 2% of its GDP and ranks 15th in the world in access to broadband. Rep. DeLauro argued that if these rankings don't improve, the United States risks becoming a second-rate economic power. "If it's true that civilizations are measured by the quality of their roads, then we soon face a reckoning."
DeLauro believes that a major benefit of the NIB would be to de-politicize the process of how infrastructure projects in the US are prioritized and funded, leaving more room for strategic investments. Members of Congress, she said, "are good at compartmentalizing ... sometimes to the detriment" of overall strategic planning. The Bank would serve as a tool to support a national strategy guided by the projects and technologies that best benefit the nation as a whole.