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February 22, 2021

Momentum Builds In United States For Comprehensive Infrastructure Investments

The winter power outages in Texas and other states drew attention last week to the United States’ crumbling infrastructure. In fact, a headline from New York Magazine even proclaimed, “America’s brittle infrastructure is on display in Texas.”

Federal policymakers in Washington, D.C. do seem intent, at this point at least, to take up a massive infrastructure bill after they are done negotiating a new COVID-19 relief package. President Joe Biden invited labor union leaders to the White House last week to discuss the issue. He also met with members of Congress and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

After the meetings, President Biden told reporters, “We are so far behind the curve … We rank like 38th in the world in terms of infrastructure.”

To help advance legislation in the United States and Canada, members of the industrial metals community must make their voices heard. In a webinar on February 17 with MSCI President and CEO Bob Weidner, Ed Mortimer from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce explained that, in the U.S. Congress, lawmakers on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee already have started to consider what should be in federal infrastructure legislation. Indeed, Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) has said his committee will hold hearings on a new Water Resources Development Act bill and a new surface transportation reauthorization package before the end of May.

If MSCI members are interested in contacting lawmakers on those committees, they can find information for Senate lawmakers here and for House lawmakers here. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also has provided a template letter to help individuals contact lawmakers. That letter can be found here.

MSCI members can watch the full webinar with Mortimer here.

As Connecting the Dots reported two weeks ago, MSCI is working to build support across North America for comprehensive infrastructure investments by U.S. and Canadian officials. MSCI’s campaign asks member company leaders and employees – and their customers, family members and neighbors – to share stories about why government leaders must invest in bridges, hospitals, schools, and other infrastructure. Individuals can join MSCI’s movement by logging on to www.build-now.org, signing up, and sharing photos of infrastructure in their towns and cities, states and provinces.

MSCI’s goal is to show the world how crumbling infrastructure impacts lives, families, jobs, communities, and the economy. If individuals notice infrastructure being built in their areas, MSCI wants to see that too. Log on to the website to show how many jobs are being generated, for example, or discuss the impact on the industrial metals sector. Click here for more information about the campaign and here to read more about the need for comprehensive infrastructure investment in Canada and the United States.

Also last week: MSCI joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Bipartisan Policy Council’s Build by the Fourth of July coalition, which includes more than 300 organizations nationwide, to send a letter to members of Congress calling on legislators to enact comprehensive, bipartisan infrastructure legislation before July 4, 2021. Click here to read the letter.

And in related news, the Biden administration has rescinded Trump-era draft guidance that had sought to prevent consideration of long-term emissions impacts deemed “remote or speculative” in analyses of infrastructure projects that are required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). (NEPA requires environmental impact analyses to be carried out before projects likes pipelines and highways are started.) The Trump administration had argued its proposed change would expedite federal permits. The Biden administration is now encouraging agencies to consider how each infrastructure project will impact climate change.