Investing in Infrastructure
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Trump. I joined other Governors, Mayors, and Speakers from across the country as the President released his plan to invest in and address our country’s aging infrastructure.
President Trump’s plan will provide billions of dollars in federal aid to leverage additional funding from state and local governments as well as the private sector. He is committing $100 billion in federal money that, when leveraged with other sources, will mean $1.5 trillion to improve our country’s aging infrastructure. This money comes in addition to the Highway Trust Fund. Half of this money will be targeted to rural states, like Iowa, to address their unique infrastructure challenges. This will help to rebuild and modernize our bridges, roads, water and wastewater assets, water resources, waterways, power generation assets, and broadband.
In addition to funding, President Trump wants to streamline and improve the permitting process so that projects can be done in a more timely manner and save taxpayer money. Some projects can take up to a decade to receive permission to move forward. The President’s goal is to get this time down to a few months, or two years at maximum.
Perhaps the most important aspect of President Trump’s plan, however, is providing states with the flexibility and authority to identify the infrastructure projects that they need most. This will empower states and localities to invest in projects that they want, without being burdened by the Federal Government. This plan will reduce red tape and bureaucracy, allow for more innovation, keep the cost of projects below budget, and get projects done quicker.
During our meeting, I had the chance to speak directly with President Trump about some of the critical projects that are needed in my home state of Iowa. We discussed modernizing our locks and dams on the Mississippi so that Iowa farmers and businesses have an efficient way to ship their products to market, as well as ways to provide broadband access to rural parts of the state. Additionally, we spoke about the I-80/380 interchange between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, which is a particularly dangerous part of our interstate, and how an update would prevent future accidents and fatalities.
As an Iowan, I know what projects are important to Iowa. Ohioans know what’s best for Ohio and Floridians know what’s best for Florida. The Federal Government shouldn’t hinder states’ ability to invest in the infrastructure projects that they know are needed.
Infrastructure is key to ensuring Iowa’s and our entire country’s bright future. Leaders from the White House, Governors’ offices around the country, and Statehouses are working hard to make investments in these much needed projects. I look forward to continuing this conversation and moving forward with critical infrastructure improvements.