Larsen Statement on Infrastructure Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) issued the following statement on the Administration’s Infrastructure Plan:

“You can’t have a big league economy with little league infrastructure – and the Administration’s Infrastructure Plan struck out. This plan is not a partnership between the federal government and states. A well thought out infrastructure plan must preserve the important role federal resources play in maintaining and modernizing infrastructure across the country. The President’s shortsighted plan fails to do this, and instead shifts the cost burden to state and local taxpayers, like the residents of Washington state’s Second Congressional District.

“Last year, the United States got a D+ on its infrastructure. If my son in college came home with a D+ in his calculus class, he would be in big trouble. Washington state alone needs over $190 billion in infrastructure investments, with highways and local roads requiring $134 billion in investment.

“One of the best ways to create jobs is to invest in our roads, bridges, highways and transit systems. Any plan to address the nation’s infrastructure challenges cannot do so without focusing on how to build the next generation workforce. I’m pleased to see recognition of the importance of Pell grants, apprenticeships and the Perkins Career and Technical Education Program, which help make education affordable for thousands of students in my district who will one day perform these critical jobs across the country. 

“However, when an infrastructure plan prioritizes the ability of a state or locality to raise funds over the quality of a project, worthy projects could be underfunded, or not funded at all. And while Washington state has made considerable investments in procuring funding for projects in the state, this is not a realistic approach for a nationwide infrastructure plan.

“The 2015 ‘Connecting Washington’ plan invests $16 billion in state funds over more than a decade to support projects that relieve congestion, improve freight mobility, advance transit safety, modernize our rail and ferries systems, and offer more clean transportation; all while supporting over 200,000 jobs. In Governor Inslee’s proposed 2017-2019 budget, the state laid out increased funding for transportation, water resources and quality, electricity grid modernization and ecosystem restoration.

“Additionally, Washington has pursued other funding options, such as incrementally raising the gas tax, to help to ensure the longevity of state infrastructure projects. Robust investments are already being made on the state level. We need to see the same level of commitment from the President.

“I am proud of the efforts Washington state has made to address repairing crumbling roads, bridges and highways, and support transit projects. Federal investment in Washington’s infrastructure is critical to sustaining and building on the state’s economic growth and putting folks in the Pacific Northwest to work.”

 

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