ACPA participated in a USDOT briefing by Charles Small, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs.

Jerry Voigt and Leif Wathne participated in the call, in which Secretary Small referred to the Administration’s 2.3 Trillion Infrastructure Investment Plan as a “once in a century investment in infrastructure.”

“Our goal to work with you and Congress to meet this moment,” Secretary Small said, adding that in spite of the pandemic, the Administration is focused on maintaining economic competitiveness and creating and sustaining jobs.

The Administration has targeted about $115 billion for core assets, highways, bridges, and roads. He also touched on airport funding, commenting the Administration is seeking terminal improvements and is supporting an increase in Airport Improvement Program funding, which supports runway construction and rehabilitation among other things.

In terms of highway funding, he noted that if the FAST Act is extended, it would likely be at the level of roughly $300 billion, adding that the Administration’s proposed $521 in surface transportation funding would be on top of that amount.

In response to questions, Secretary Small said there is an awareness of the need to address the backlog of highway projects, acknowledging the need to focus on those that are ‘shovel worthy’ rather than just ‘shovel ready.’

Responding to a question from Jerry Voigt about the “Build Back Better” aspect of the plan, he mentioned that consideration be given to building more resilient roadways as well as buildings in areas prone to flooding or other climate events.

Leif Wathne also urged the Administration to challenge the transportation construction industry to deliver long-life and resilient infrastructure whenever possible – whether that is 100-year bridges or 50-year pavements.  “Our industry welcomes the challenge and look forward to elevating the bar through this plan,” Leif said.

The Secretary also discussed electric vehicle charging infrastructure, which he described as both a bipartisan issue and a priority based on conversations we’ve had with mayors and governors. He added the Administration would like to see about a half million charging stations across the nation. He also said the $85 billion for transit is aimed at maintenance of the system and addressing “transit deserts.”

Photo:  Charles Small, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs. (ACPA file photo.)

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