Obama’s Infrastructure Agenda: Understanding the Pillars
Last week President Obama announced his support for a $50 billion plan for “Renewing and Expanding America’s Roads, Railways, and Runways.” This plan is aimed toward strengthening the U.S. economy and shaping a long-term vision for transportation investments. Several key reforms that could change the way that infrastructure projects develop on the federal, state and metropolitan levels include a merit-driven national infrastructure bank; projects that link transportation, housing, energy and environmental concerns; and a competitive discretionary grant program for transportation reform focused on encouraging innovative and performance-based transportation investments.
On September 16, the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings hosted a discussion on recent proposals for revamping America’s infrastructure. Bruce Katz, vice president and director of Metropolitan Policy, opened with his views on what’s at stake. A panel discussion followed, moderated by Senior Fellow Robert Puentes, that included Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy Polly Trottenberg on the administration’s perspective, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) on congressional action, Senior Fellow Michael Greenstone on the economic case for infrastructure, and Virginia Assistant Secretary of Transportation Matt Strader on state infrastructure.
After the program, the panelists took audience questions.
Assistant Secretary of Transportation
Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation
“The 21st century has revalued these small geographies. That’s what the 21st century demands,” Katz said, noting that these days, “[w]e aren’t innovating in isolated business parks” in the suburbs.