Transportation Secretary Chao: Dems and GOP should join with Trump to fund infrastructure improvements

Infrastructure is essential to any nation’s success. During the 20th century, infrastructure was instrumental in growing America’s economy into one the most productive in the world.

Today, aging and insufficient infrastructure threatens to impede America’s economic growth and impact quality of life in many areas. To address this and build a better future for all Americans, President Trump’s State of the Union message called upon Congress to address the urgent need to repair and modernize our country’s infrastructure.

Over the last two years, our economy has responded very positively to the president’s policies – generating a historically strong labor market for Americans and widespread private sector investment.

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Our economy gained 304,000 jobs in January, far exceeding market expectations. The unemployment rate fell below a remarkable 4 percent for eight months in 2018.

This success is enabled by America’s transportation sector. Shipping and freight industries are moving goods at an all-time high and new, cutting-edge mobility options are improving the way people travel.

These gains, however, are threatened by infrastructure that is increasingly congested, in need of repair, and unable to keep pace with technological change.

Every day, tens of millions of Americans drive across bridges in need of repair. Too many roads that Americans depend upon are overcrowded or in poor condition. Many seaports and inland waterways essential for commerce are outdated or need improvements.

Rural communities – too many of which are still without broadband service – also suffer from outdated infrastructure.

To keep pace with the needs of a growing economy, the Trump administration is committed to improvements that address all facets of infrastructure. So the president is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that delivers new and important infrastructure investment to clear up the backlog of needed repairs and modernize America’s aging infrastructure.

But it’s not just about funding. Government red tape delays, and sometimes denies, needed infrastructure improvements.

The Trump administration is committed to streamlining government permitting and approval processes so that infrastructure projects can be delivered more quickly. This is especially important for domestic energy infrastructure, so that Americans have greater access to reliable and affordable energy and are not dependent on foreign sources.

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President Trump also believes our country must invest in cutting-edge technologies that promise to shape our world for years to come, such as a secure 5G network, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and rural broadband.

This president is a builder, He understands that building up our infrastructure is key to economic growth and improving the quality of life of all Americans. Repairing existing infrastructure and building new projects will reduce traffic congestion, improve road conditions, and boost commerce throughout the nation.

Thankfully, infrastructure is an issue that has potential for bipartisan consensus in Washington. Leaders in both parties recognize that infrastructure needs to be a priority.

There is considerable interest on both sides of the aisle in considering infrastructure legislation in the coming year. This Trump administration stands ready to help get this job done, for Americans today and for the generations to come.