Our nation needs to continually modernize and maintain our infrastructure to make the United States an attractive place for businesses to operate and for people to live. When CEOs are deciding where to locate new operations, they need to have the confidence that roads are efficient, railways can move their products, and ports are deep enough to meet the requirements of today’s global economy. They need reliable power and broadband, and want their employees to have access to services that are essential to a high quality of life. If we fail to provide and maintain adequate infrastructure, the consequences will be severe: fewer jobs will be created, and some may be lost; paychecks will not go as far because Americans will pay more for goods and services; and traffic jams, potholes, and water main breaks will lead to longer commutes, higher greenhouse gas emissions, and lower quality of life.
While private investment is not a substitute for government spending on infrastructure, we can better achieve a state-of-the-art infrastructure network by expanding the sources of investment and using those dollars, whether public or private, as effectively as possible. That’s why President Barack Obama announced the Build America Investment Initiative. The initiative calls for the Secretaries of the Treasury and Transportation to lead a working group to analyze how to increase public and private sector collaboration in infrastructure development; expand appropriate use of private sector infrastructure financing; and achieve gains in productivity, efficiency, and resilience. Today, the Department of the Treasury, in collaboration with the Department of Transportation, is hosting an infrastructure summit to discuss challenges and opportunities in infrastructure with state and local government officials; private investors in infrastructure; representatives from labor organizations, public pension funds, and other institutional investors; and other relevant experts and stakeholders.