ICYMI: Esty Calls on Transportation Secretary to Work Together, Invest in Infrastructure
Taking the lead for the Transportation Committee’s Democrats at a hearing with Secretary Elaine Chao yesterday, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) advocated for more federal investment in the nation’s ailing infrastructure. Esty also pressed Chao to avoid adding to the burdens of already overstretched state and local governments with new unfunded mandates, citing Connecticut officials’ concerns with the lack of federal investment.
Esty released a bipartisan framework to renew America’s roads, bridges, airports, waterways, electrical grid, and broadband networks in January, an approach that received the praise of senior White House officials. She continues to collaborate with the administration, as well as Republicans and Democrats in Congress, to secure meaningful infrastructure investment.
From the Washington Post, White House turns to Congress for ideas on infrastructure funding:
“We continue to spin our wheels on how we intend to bridge the gap between nearly universal support for fixing our nation’s infrastructure and our massive funding needs,” Rep. Elizabeth H. Esty (D-Conn.) said.
“A key element [of the White House plan] is to empower decision-making at the state and local level. They know best the infrastructure needs of their communities,” Chao said.
Esty responded that in Connecticut officials see that as “pushing the problem down on the state and local governments.”
“If the federal government is rolling back its commitment on infrastructure, and the states are going to have to come up with the money, that’s less money they have to pay for the roads and bridges,” Esty said.
Democrats say $200 billion is not enough of a federal investment, and they’re concerned about weakening environmental protections to speed up project approvals. They’re also skeptical about the framework, which uses federal funding mostly as seed money to spur non-federal entities that own most infrastructure to generate their own revenue for projects.
“We need real, sustainable investments to improve the productivity and mobility,” said Representative Elizabeth Esty, a Connecticut Democrat. “We can’t do it based on gimmicks, shifting responsibility among partners of the loss over years of underinvestment. What we need is a sound, long-term investment, at the federal level.”
Click the image above or this link to view Esty’s opening remarks at the hearing with Secretary Chao