March 23, 2018
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Rendell: Investing in Infrastructure

“When you pay for infrastructure, you’re not spending money, you’re investing in long-term assets,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell told Legislative Conference attendees at the March 19 General Breakfast, “The National Perspective on Infrastructure Investment,” sponsored by APTA’s Business Member Activity Fund.

Rendell, a co-founder of Building America’s Future who co-chairs the organization with former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, noted his “extraordinary regard” for APTA and its role as a voice for the many public transit riders who “have the least amount of clout in this country.”


In addition to the fact that the U.S. has not conducted a major infrastructure revitalization program since the Interstate Highway System of the 1950s, Rendell said, “We can’t help the infrastructure crisis without noticing the federal gas tax is going broke.” He called on APTA members and other public transit advocates to assure their legislators of their support for increased tax funding for infrastructure at both the federal and state levels.

Rendell stressed that both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, on opposite sides of most issues, support increasing the federal gas tax as a way to improve quality of life, public safety and the environment while building security and helping prepare for increased numbers of users in coming decades.

He said he had hoped President Trump “would do significant things” regarding infrastructure, based on his campaign promise to invest $1 trillion in federal funds over 10 years.”

While recognizing Democrats’ infrastructure plan, he said the proposal to pay for $1 trillion in infrastructure investment by rolling back the recent Trump tax cuts is “illusory” and called on Congress to “get serious” about the issue.

In Rendell’s opinion, if the Democrats take back one or both houses of Congress in November, they can show leadership by passing an infrastructure bill with significant federal funding, including a gas tax increase. “I have no doubt President Trump would sign that bill; he wants transformative projects,” he added.

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