Legislators from around the country gather every year at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit to talk about policies that work in the real world. State
legislators are literally hunting for ideas they can bring home to their communities to help them bolster their local economies and create jobs. Among the key sessions, was a dynamic panel on creating jobs through infrastructure investment. Focused on the reality that construction costs are rising yet states needs to borrow at affordable rates, this session’s speakers discussed both the polices that work and the next wave of potential investments that legislators can focus on now.
To start the panel off, ASCE President Andrew Herrmann P.E., M.ASCE began the discussion by highlighting the clear case for investing today using the Failure to Act economic studies which show the high costs to the US, jobs, and businesses if necessary infrastructure investments are postponed. Deb Miller, former Secretary of Transportation, Kansas, now with Cambridge Systematics, Inc., and Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton highlighted how accountability and clear expectations allowed several key investments to move forward in their states and how these projects supported local businesses and the state’s economic goals. Geoffrey Buswick, Standard & Poor’s, touched on the financing options available and the reality that borrowing options may change as the economy recovers.
Through our participation in meetings like this, ASCE is able to interact with leading policymakers from around the country, and particularly those legislators who have been leaders in their states on infrastructure issues. As sates continue to face fiscal challenges it’s encouraging that state legislators like those gathered in Chicago continue to seek solutions to the infrastructure deficit.