President Trump and congressional Democrats have proposed trillion-dollar infrastructure spending sprees, and among their most ardent allies are the nation’s governors who cite years of pent-up demand for fixing or expanding old assets and building new ones.
On February 13, the National Governors Association (NGA), in conjunction with 10 other state and local groups, has issued State and Local Fiscal Facts: 2017, a brief outlining the fiscal condition of state and local governments. In the past few years, the fiscal conditions of state and local governments have stabilized, but improvements have been uneven. Particular emphasis was placed on municipal bonds, which remain a critical tool for financing the construction or improvement of schools, streets, highways, hospitals, bridges, water and sewer systems, ports, airports, and other public works.
Between 2007 and 2016, states, countries, and other localities invested $3.8 trillion in infrastructure through tax-exempt municipal bonds, whereas the federal government provided nearly $1.5 trillion. The report emphasizes that it is now critically important that governors have many tools available in the toolbox to maintain and repair America’s infrastructure.
These efforts were joined on February 15 by National Association of Countries (NACo), as Central Region Representative Cindy Bobbitt emphasized counties' vast transportation infrastructure responsibilities. Counties own and maintain 45% of public road miles and nearly 40% of bridges, and are involved in a third of the nation's public transportation systems and airports. County infrastructure plays a critical role in moving freight and other goods to market, while modernizing industries, higher crop yields and new methods of energy extraction create immense stress on rural roads. Bobbitt underscored that the federal-state-local partnership on infrastructure, informed by county input, is crucial for economic competitiveness.
“Governors look forward to working with the President to creating a 21st century infrastructure system that boosts the economy” stated NGA Executive Director and CEO Scott Pattison.