Cities Respond to President Trump's Infrastructure Proposal

America's crumbling infrastructure
America's crumbling infrastructure

WASHINGTON – February 12, 2018 – Today, President Trump released his administration's infrastructure proposal following a meeting at the White House with city leaders. The National League of Cities (NLC) applauds the administration for putting infrastructure at the top of Congress' to-do list and asking them for bipartisan legislation to rebuild critical infrastructure in cities, towns and villages across America. The proposal follows calls from state and local leaders to rebuild and reimagine the nation's infrastructure to meet the diverse, complex needs of our residents and ensure American competitiveness.

"With the release of this plan, the White House will hopefully start a domino effect in Washington for Congress to pull together a bipartisan bill that works with cities to rebuild America's infrastructure," said National League of Cities (NLC) CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. "Congress must step up to join cities in the fight to repair our nation's crumbling infrastructure and build for 2050, instead of simply fixing 1950. Now is the right time for Congress to join us in rebuilding national networks and core infrastructure that delivers what Americans want – great infrastructure that works for them and the economy."

Cities call on Congress to frame an infrastructure plan that works collaboratively with cities and reflects five guiding principles:

  1. SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENT: Together, cities and our federal partners must address the existing core infrastructure backlog, reestablish long-term funding and use new technologies that will serve America's cities for the next 100 years.
  2. LOCALLY-DRIVEN PROJECTS: Local leaders, from cities large and small, are best positioned to identify where infrastructure needs are greatest and should be given a stronger voice in how limited federal dollars are invested.
  3. FEDERAL-LOCAL PARTNERSHIP: Cities are already paying their fair share and need a steady federal partner to fund existing national programs and make significant capital investments for the long-term benefit of the economy.
  4. EXPAND REVENUE TOOLS: Cities should be given more flexibility to raise revenues and use innovative financing techniques while protecting existing tools, such as tax-exempt bonds, to drive regional investments that tie into the national network.
  5. REBUILD AND REIMAGINE: Cities are leading the way in building intermodal, sustainable and interconnected infrastructure networks that support a modern economy. Congress must invest in cities' vision to rebuild and reimagine America's infrastructure.

Fixing America's infrastructure will take significant additional commitment from every level of government – federal, state and local – without letting up on progress that can be made through existing infrastructure programs. Cities are paying their fair share, and 92 percent of cities reported an increase in infrastructure costs in a 2017 survey. Sustainable, dependable federal investment in national systems must come with state commitments to lift excessive barriers on cities' revenue tools. Cities in 47 states face one or more limitations with how they raise funds for infrastructure, and federal legislation to ensure a fair online marketplace has stalled, hurting both cities' bottom line and their small businesses.

Cities share the goal of increasing rural infrastructure investment and building increased pathways to apprenticeship programs that ensure a skilled workforce to help us rebuild American infrastructure. For far too long, Washington has not focused on a national response to the growing crisis of infrastructure breaks and emergency repairs that keep city leaders up at night and consume cities' budgets.

In January, NLC launched Rebuild With Us, a national campaign dedicated to strengthening the federal-local partnership with investments in transportation, water, workforce and broadband infrastructure. 

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The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org

On March 11 – 14, city leaders from across the nation will gather at the Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C., to speak up for city priorities and rebuild America’s infrastructure. Learn more at ccc.nlc.org/infrastructure.

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