Blackstone’s Schwarzman: Biden’s infrastructure bill is what the economy needs
About the authors: Stephen schwarzman is President, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone. Catherine wylde is President and CEO of the Nonprofit Partnership for New York City.
America is on track to deliver on a 21st century public infrastructure program that has eluded us for two decades.
We were among the 148 business leaders who wrote a letter on July 26 urging congressional leaders to agree on the bipartisan infrastructure framework that is now heading for congressional adoption. Democrats and Republicans, business and labor leaders have united in supporting the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure investment and jobs law that will be the catalyst for modernization of labor systems. the country’s aging transportation and utilities while boosting our national economy after the pandemic.
For those of us based in major American cities, unprecedented growth has exceeded the capacity of our existing infrastructure. As a result, our productivity and America’s competitive advantage in world affairs has declined. This trend predates the pandemic, but has been accelerated by the sudden shift to remote working, online education, and the explosion of e-commerce which has caused an increase in freight and deliveries.
The impact of climate change and extreme weather will continue to strain systems built over a century earlier. Unprecedented flooding has undermined the integrity of tunnels and roads and created the need for multi-billion dollar developments such as the Gateway Project, a new railway bridge and tunnel under the Hudson River that will secure Amtrak services to the north- is and will move hundreds of thousands of daily commuters between New York and New Jersey.
Our existing power transmission systems, broadband networks and transit services cannot meet the larger and more geographically diverse demands of the post-pandemic digital economy. As we move away from fossil fuels, power transmission projects that provide clean energy to U.S. urban innovation hubs, such as New York City’s efforts to reduce wind power solar and hydroelectric cleaners from the northern part of the state and Canada, will be essential to meet growing demand. .
The process by which senators from both parties worked with the White House to reach agreement on this legislation reflects the bipartisan nature of the problem. Both urban and rural centers, every region of the country, businesses large and small, will benefit from infrastructure improvements and share the long-term risks associated with inaction.
The legislation not only focuses on upgrading inadequate physical and digital infrastructure, but will also provide targeted assistance to emerging local priorities for which municipal and state funding is insufficient. Whether it’s an urban area like New York or a small rural town, having the ability to access funds focused directly on your needs is a real game-changer for communities. For example, during Covid-19, a record number of New Yorkers turned to the city’s bike-sharing program for mobility, but it also resulted in an unprecedented number of deaths and injuries due to the lack of of protected cycle paths. There are funds to meet the needs of cyclists and pedestrians as well as to improve accessibility to public transportation and the infrastructure required to serve electric vehicles.
This bill is a good start. In its implementation, we hope that the private sector can help mobilize federal funds with private capital and expertise. America has an estimated backlog of over $ 2.6 trillion in physical infrastructure needs. A national infrastructure authority, which was proposed but not included in the final legislation, would facilitate public-private partnerships that have the potential to create tens of thousands of additional jobs with minimal additional government spending.
Many of the companies that support this bipartisan effort have long been involved in the design, construction, and financing of public assets around the world, while America lags behind. London and Asia have improved their air traffic control systems to increase routes and reduce delays, while the United States has been slow to follow suit, despite the fact that the GPS technology that made the satellite navigation is from the US Department of Defense. Fast rail magnetic levitation technology was developed in New York City, but it was never put into use here. This legislation can help ensure that the products of American ingenuity are deployed here at home.
We are proud to support the Infrastructure and Jobs Act and commend Washington’s elected leaders who worked diligently to secure this bipartisan agreement. They have demonstrated that our country can transcend partisan political divisions and this is a very promising sign for America’s recovery from Covid-19 and future growth.
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