Today, Governor Jack Markell joined President Barack Obama, Governor Ed Rendell, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, former Secretaries of Transportation Norman Mineta and Sam Skinner and mayors from several major cities at a White House summit. The group discussed the current state of transportation infrastructure in cities and states across the country, the challenges they face improving their infrastructure, and the short- and long-term economic impact of new infrastructure investment.
“The White House asked me to help share the perspective of a state chief executive who’s had to balance budgets in difficult times and is pulling people together to get people back to work,” said Governor Markell. “The President realizes the road to recovery is helped by things like better roads.”
Today’s discussion also focused on President Obama’s plan for infrastructure improvements, infrastructure-related jobs created through the Recovery Act, and a newly released report prepared by the U.S. Department of the Treasury with the Council of Economic Advisors.
“By investing in these projects, we’ve already created hundreds of thousands of jobs. But the fact remains that nearly one in five construction workers is still unemployed and needs a job. And that makes absolutely no sense at a time when there is so much of America that needs rebuilding,” said President Obama during a televised statement on the White House lawn.
The report, An Economic Analysis of Infrastructure Investment, found four key reasons to increase investment in transportation infrastructure now:
· Well-designed infrastructure yields long-term economic benefits by raising our economic output and enhancing American competitiveness;
· Infrastructure investments will create middle-class jobs and alleviate the burden of transportation costs for middle-class families;
· There is currently a high level of underutilized resources that can be used to improve infrastructure at a lower cost;
· There is strong demand by the public and businesses for improved transportation.
“For years, we have deferred tough decisions, and today, our aging system of highways and byways, air routes and rail lines hinder our economic growth,” said the President. “Today, the average American household is forced to spend more on transportation each year than food. Our roads, clogged with traffic, cost us $80 billion a year in lost productivity and wasted fuel.”
“New up-front investments in infrastructure not only provide many construction-related jobs in the short run, it improves economic outlook in the long term,” Governor Markell said. “Jobs aren’t created while people are stuck in traffic, and economic growth doesn’t happen when workers can’t easily get their products to their customers.”
release from the Office of the Governor