A coalition of more than 140 national, state and local business and advocacy groups—including construction organizations—has kicked off a drive for big, wide-ranging federal infrastructure legislation, with the ambitious aim of having a bill signed into law by July 4.
Coalition members have not yet specified how large a program they would like, or how it should be financed.
Tom Donohue, the U.S. Chamber’s CEO, said in a statement that the “Build by the Fourth” coalition urges Congress to “enact a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package as one of their first priorities.”
Bipartisan Policy Center Presiden Jason Grumet, said that “national infrastructure investment is the best idea that never happens.” He added, “Congress must seize this opportunity to jump start our economy, repair aging systems and advance the modern technologies needed to confront climate change.”
Sean McGarvey, president of the North America’s Building Trades Unions—a coalition member—said the legislation should be “big, bold and bipartisan” and a “top priority” for the incoming administration and new Congress.
President-elect Joe Biden has repeatedly said he supports passage of an infrastructure measure that includes provisions to address the effects of climate change, including clean energy and taking other steps to reduce U.S. carbon emissions.
He spoke Jan. 14 in Wilmington, Del., to outline a further coronavirus relief and economic stimulus plan, with a more detailed infrastructure spending proposal set for release in February.
Among other things, the coalition wants the envisioned legislation to provide an economic stimulus and “create middle-class sustaining jobs,” improve the approval process for federally funded projects and a "resilient low-carbon economy of the future.”
The list of coalition members includes American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Council of Engineering Companies, American Water Works Association and National Association of Home Builders.
Reflecting the interest in “green” infrastructure, the group also includes the National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, American Wind Energy Association, Solar Energy Industries Association and U.S. Green Building Council.