Speaking at a Cornell University event in Washington, D.C. this week, White House infrastructure officer Mitch Landrieu and three industry leaders said the U.S. Massive Infrastructure Spending Act is coming into effect quickly. , but there are still challenges.
The event at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) was jointly organized by AEI and the Cornell Infrastructure Policy Program (CPIP) at the Cornell Jebb E. Brooks School of Public Policy. CPIP Academic Director Rick Geddes moderated the discussion. He is also an AEI Adjunct Senior Fellow.
Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act almost a year ago, and Landrieu said the law’s scale and scope are unprecedented. “This is he’s $1.2 trillion. It’s a big number and it has a lot of zeros. It’s the biggest we’ve made in terms of federal direct investment since President Eisenhower’s bill built the interstate highway system. ” he said Landrieu. “So you really have to think about what you want to build, where you want to build it, who’s going to do it, when it’s done, how you want it to look. Arrive on time, on task, on budget. I hope you do.”
Geddes posed a question to Landrieu, referring to the New York state project and his CPIP research and teaching. He explained the potential of his P3 partnership between government and private sector to build public infrastructure. “I tell my class that the United States is lagging behind in innovation in partnerships between the private and public sectors,” Geddes said. Landrieu agreed.
Landrieu is a former mayor of New Orleans and holds the formal titles of Senior White House Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator. He enforces laws that fund building roads, bridges, airports, ports, waterways, high-speed internet, clean environments and a green energy economy. “I think we’re doing pretty well,” Landrieu claimed, noting that already he has $180 billion spent and 5,000 projects under construction.
But he warned of challenges. These include securing building permits quickly, obtaining technical expertise for rural and small towns, and hiring and training a specialized workforce.
After Landrieu’s remarks, Geddes moderated a panel discussion with three industry leaders.
CPIP board member and Cornell Council member Jeff Weiss ’79 highlighted clean energy development funded by passage of the Infrastructure Act and subsequent Inflation Reduction Act. “The law is important because it gives us rocket fuel, and rocket fuel is very important for accelerating the transition to a more sustainable energy supply,” Weiss said. He serves as Executive Chairman of his Distributed Sun. Distributed Sun is a solar and renewable energy developer that builds community and utility solar farms and helps Fortune 500 companies reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials, applauded the Biden administration for securing bipartisan support in Congress for the infrastructure bill. “We believe this bill provides an excellent foundation and platform for building a safe, healthy and smart transportation system that will remain resilient for generations to come,” Tymon said. increase.
Patrick Foye, former chairman and CEO of New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), echoed Landrieu’s concerns about the labor supply needed to execute the project currently in the planning stages. Foye is currently CEO of ASTM, his P3-focused company specializing in greenfield projects. “Working in infrastructure is not a job, it’s a career,” he says Foye. “They have well-paid jobs with quality benefits, opportunities for lifetime employment and jobs with increasing challenges. I have.”
AEI has videotaped this discussion. You can watch it here and it also aired on CSPAN.
Landrieu and the panelists are the latest prominent guests to speak at the CPIP event. CPIP draws on the expertise of more than a dozen Cornell University departments and schools to influence the delivery of infrastructure projects, from infrastructure project selection, funding, and financing to design, permitting, construction, operation, and maintenance. We are researching and analyzing our giving policies.