ACCELERATOR FOR AMERICA ACTION AND INFRASTRUCTURE COALITION UPDATE “AMERICA’S NEW PLAYBOOK FOR INFRASTRUCTURE” POLICY PLAYBOOK; U.S. SEN. CORTEZ MASTO, U.S. REP. STANTON, MAYOR DAVID HOLT, MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI UNVEILED/DISCUSSED AT LIVE EVENT
‘America’s New Playbook for Infrastructure’ Calls for Federal Overhaul; says Infrastructure Investment that is Aligned with Local Priorities Essential for Economic Recovery, Reducing Systemic Inequality through Good Jobs that Build Community Wealth
Accelerator for America Action, WSP USA, Mastercard City Possible, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, The ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies) Research Institute, Meridiam NA, and HNTB — collectively, the “New Partnership on Infrastructure” — yesterday released an updated version of “America’s New Playbook for Infrastructure.” While other approaches to infrastructure policy draw from past best practices, this effort was uniquely created during the pandemic and with a focus on recovery.
The Playbook goes beyond a call for significant investment in our nation’s infrastructure and urges an overhaul of how infrastructure is financed by the federal government: we must move toward a system that incentivizes aligned local, state, and federal investment, and we must empower local governments, which are most attuned to local needs and priorities, with more autonomy to maximize the benefits of federal infrastructure investment on our communities’ built environments and, especially, our local and national economies.
The Playbook uniquely comprises specific and actionable recommendations informed by mayors on the front lines, the businesses and experts who build and finance our infrastructure, and by leading researchers. Each $1 billion of investment in infrastructure creates more than 22,000 jobs — well paid and typically union jobs — that provide long-lasting careers and support strong local economies. These jobs, which will help rebuild America’s middle class, also provide the local opportunities and community wealth necessary to break generational cycles of inequality.
An initial version of the Playbook was released in June 2020. The Playbook released yesterday reflects updates created as the pandemic and political situations have changed and according to feedback received as the initial Playbook was shared with policymakers in Washington, D.C. and with America’s mayors.
“The policies we’re advocating for in Washington are about the American people and their needs, and they’re informed by Mayors on the frontlines,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, CA, who co-founded and is Advisory Council Chair of Accelerator for America. “This Playbook offers specific and actionable policies to deliver the greatest return on investment for people’s lives and livelihoods.”
“We know that investing in infrastructure will create the types of jobs we need to rebuild our communities to be stronger and more equitable than they were before the pandemic,” said Aaron Thomas, President and CEO of Accelerator for America and Accelerator for America Action. “The fundamental principle behind America’s New Playbook for infrastructure is to increase economic security for all Americans, in all communities.
“Investing in our infrastructure and transportation systems is one of the best ways to help our communities rebuild and rebound from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic,” said U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to discuss the importance of these investments and to share my priorities for the future, which include providing local governments with the flexibility to spend federal funding on innovative projects and funding the workforce training needed to create accessible, good-paying jobs.”
“There’s no better investment that we could make than in infrastructure — not just with the direct jobs created, but in terms of the long-term benefits to our economy and the types of careers created,” said Congressman Greg Stanton.
“Investing in infrastructure is all about jobs,” said Oklahoma City, OK Mayor David Holt who is also a member of Accelerator for America’s Advisory Council. “It’s about jobs now, it’s about jobs tomorrow, and it’s about jobs forever, which is what communities across the country need to equitably rebuild and recover.”
The Playbook’s recommendations include:
- Establishing a national training center for workforce development and apprenticeship programs for infrastructure.
- Declaring in any economic stimulus bill that federal competition rules do not prohibit innovative job creation incentives such as the United States Employment Plan (USEP) and local hire in procurements for all infrastructure projects.
- Incentivizing state and local agencies to hire growing small- and medium-sized businesses.
- Creating and expanding federal grant incentives that drive innovation and put people to work.
- Requiring federal stimulus grant applicants to identify project procurement efficiencies and directing executive branch agencies to partner with recipients in re-engineering processes to achieve these efficiencies.
- Reducing the burden of environmental review processes without compromising environmental stewardship.
- Providing technical assistance to project sponsors, a federal fast-track process for P3s, and expanding the use of subsidized debt.
- Incentivizing voluntary state-local road transfer programs.
- Clearing regulatory hurdles that restrict the ability of cities to install fiber.
- Empowering local jurisdictions to access federal emergency relief funds for betterments.
- Establishing an outcome-based NPDES permitting process by adopting an adaptive management regulatory approach.
- Providing long-term operational funding support through stimulus dollars and by reintroducing a federal revenue-sharing program.
- Focusing recovery dollars first on State of Good Repair.
- Providing pre-development funds and technical assistance to support “shovel-worthy” projects.
- Providing catalytic federal support for state and local bond issuance and refinancings.
- Increasing utilization of federal credit programs through refinancing.
- Expanding the scope of and refining federal discretionary grant programs.
- Increasing direct regional funding.
- Establishing an infrastructure planning council at the federal level to coordinate the many agency policies, regulations, and funding programs.
- Increasing funding and eligibility for already successful federal broadband programs.
In addition to research and analysis from the Partnership’s members, the Playbook was shaped through interviews with:
- Mayor Steve Adler, Austin, TX
- Mayor Andy Berke, Chattanooga, TN
- Dan Carol, Milken Institute
- Angela Castro, RTC of Southern Nevada
- Henry Cisneros, Connect SA, former Mayor of San Antonio, TX
- Mayor Paige Cognetti, Scranton, PA
- Kevin DeGood, Center for American Progress
- Radhika Fox, U.S. Water Alliance
- Mayor Kate Gallego, Phoenix, AZ
- Mayor Quentin Hart, Waterloo, IA
- AJ Hermann, Office of Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kansas City, MO
- Mayor David Holt, Oklahoma City, OK
- Mayor Tim Keller, Albuquerque, NM
- Darren Kettle, Ventura County Transportation Commission
- Mayor Debbie Kling, Nampa, ID
- John Langmore, Transit for Austin
- Shoshana Lew, Colorado Department of Transportation
- Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kansas City, MO
- Lynn Peterson, Oregon Metro
- Matt Petersen, Los Angeles Transportation Electrification Partnership
- Sophie Shulman, U.S. Department of Transportation
- Will Toor, Colorado Energy Office
- City Clerk Anna Valencia, Chicago, IL
- Phil Washington, L.A. Metro
- Stephanie Wiggins, MetroLink
- Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton, OH
- Mayor Jeff Williams, Arlington, TX
- Mayor Lucy Vinis, Eugene, OR
- Raymond Wolfe, San Bernardino County Transportation Authority