President Trump, Rebuild With Us

This is a staff post by Irma Esparza Diggs, senior executive and director of federal advocacy at the National League of Cities.

Tonight, President Trump gives his first State of the Union address to Congress, and city leaders across the country will be watching to hear how the president plans to fulfill his campaign promise of a $1.7 trillion investment in America’s infrastructure.

America’s local leaders believe the time has come to get serious about infrastructure and to rebuild our nation’s standard of living from the ground up. On behalf of America’s cities and towns, NLC has called on President Trump to use his State of the Union speech to outline a bold proposal for rebuilding America’s infrastructure and showcase the administration’s commitment to partnering with cities on critical investments that serve our nation’s economy.

City officials are not strangers to America’s infrastructure problems. Time and consistent use have led to leaks, breaks and emergency repairs in cities large and small. Citizens are taking note of the growing infrastructure problems as well: In a new poll released by the Pew Research Center, the share of participants that wanted to see improvements in the nation’s transportation system as a top priority of the federal government jumped significantly just this year. Addressing how we will collectively invest in rebuilding our infrastructure is one of our country’s most pressing domestic priorities.

For years, cities have done their part to build, repair and maintain critical infrastructure needs, even as those systems have gotten older and more temperamental as even more people use it. Even during the recession, cities stepped up their infrastructure investments in small and large ways, and over the past 10 years, localities and states have collectively financed more than $3.8 trillion in municipal bonds to address the most pressing needs. But we also recognize that there is still a $3.7 trillion dollar gap for national networks that will require a federal partner to meet the needs of a modern economy.

City leaders know that now is the time to rebuild and reimagine America’s infrastructure in partnership with the federal government. Cities have been actively working on long-term plans and a vision for how infrastructure can make their community a great place to work and live. The federal government has been a longstanding partner in America’s infrastructure to connect our economies and to drive economic activity, and they can continue to drive to cities where we will make it count.

The National League of Cities has laid out our infrastructure guiding principles to show how and where investment would return results in our transportation systems, water infrastructure and broadband networks.

In today’s evolving world, our communities need a smart, modern infrastructure network to succeed. We can achieve that vision — but only through a strong federal-local partnership and a plan that acknowledges the reality on the ground.

Already, local leaders are leading the way in building intermodal, sustainable and interconnected infrastructure networks that support a modern economy.

On Tuesday night, we’ll be calling on President Trump to put an infrastructure plan on the table for Congress to consider. It’s time for Washington to #RebuildWithUs.

Right now, you can join our campaign and tell Congress how we can build together. City leaders can also join NLC on March 11-14 for the Congressional City Conference in Washington, DC. Register now and raise your voice!

IEDminiAbout the Author: Irma Esparza Diggs is a senior executive and director of federal advocacy at the National League of Cities. Follow Irma on Twitter @iediggs.