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Congresswoman Laura Richardson (CA-37) and New Democrats Unveil Agenda for Improving U.S. Infrastructure and Strengthening Manufacturing

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congresswoman Laura Richardson (CA-37) and members of the New Democrat Coalition met with Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, to collaborate on ideas for creating private sector jobs and helping American businesses and workers compete in the global marketplace. During the meeting with Immelt, the New Democrats unveiled an agenda to foster economic growth and job creation based on policies that strengthen American manufacturing and improve U.S. infrastructure.

Under the leadership of the New Democrat Coalition Critical Infrastructure and Manufacturing Task Force, led by Representatives Jason Altmire (PA-4), Rick Larsen (WA-2) and Laura Richardson (CA-37), the New Democrats are committed to enacting policies that boost American manufacturing and help businesses more efficiently move goods and services in the U.S. and to customers abroad.

"Investing in our infrastructure is critical to creating jobs and growing our economy. Many of our nation's transit and transportation systems are in urgent need of repair and improving them will provide immediate and much needed relief to the people who travel and live along some of our most heavily congested corridors. Additionally, I believe that a freight mobility strategy focused on creating a more efficient goods movement system is especially important and has the greatest potential to aid small and medium sized businesses expand their reach and compete in the global marketplace," said Rep. Laura Richardson, New Dem Critical Infrastructure and Manufacturing Task Force Co-Chair.

"We need to make sure our small and medium sized manufacturers have the tools and resources they need to grow and hire more workers," said Rep. Rick Larsen, New Dem Vice-Chair and Critical Infrastructure and Manufacturing Task Force Co-Chair. "Investing in U.S. infrastructure and growing our manufacturing base is going to create good, private sector jobs and help maintain U.S. economic leadership in the world."

"We want our nation to have the infrastructure that it needs to successfully compete in the global economy," Rep. Jason Altmire, New Dem Critical Infrastructure and Manufacturing Task Force Co-Chair said. "By rebuilding our nation's roads and bridges and by putting in place policies that will help generate new opportunities for American manufacturers, we can create jobs and pave the way for long-term economic growth."

Endorsed by the 43 Member Coalition, the New Dem principles include proposals to leverage public funds with private dollars for ground transportation projects; create a tax climate that helps U.S. manufacturers compete in the global marketplace; and, provide assistance for small- and medium-sized manufacturers to expand their exports. These principles will guide the work of the New Democrat Coalition on transportation and manufacturing issues during the 112th Congress.

New Democrat Coalition Principles for Supporting our Nation's
Critical Infrastructure and Manufacturing Base

As New Democrats, we are committed to a strategy that strengthens, modernizes, protects, and maintains U.S. national infrastructure on the ground, in the sky, on the water, and in our cyber networks. In order to remain competitive in the global economy, improving domestic infrastructure is a sound strategy to promote growth and efficiency, support increased manufacturing, feed the American market and serve as an export platform for U.S. manufactured goods around the world. The following principles will serve as a foundation for a strategic direction for the Coalition on critical infrastructure and manufacturing.

Building the infrastructure needed to help manufacturers in the U.S. efficiently move people, products, and ideas.

Today, our infrastructure continues to decline with 37% of our roads in poor or fair condition and 25% of our bridges structurally deficient. Congestion costs U.S. employers, businesses and manufacturers $78 billion a year, with accidents and delays costing Americans more than $1,200 for each man, woman and child. Our aviation system continues to use outdated technology, slowed by an uncertain future and 18 short-term extensions of the FAA reauthorization bill, with deferred repairs and flight delays costing an additional $33 billion per year.

We must repair, restore and protect our nation's infrastructure backbone, which is essential to our global economic competitiveness and the future security of our country.

· Surface Transportation
o Expand innovative initiatives to extend the reach of the taxpayer's dollar and leverage private funds as part of a comprehensive infrastructure strategy, including:
§ A national infrastructure bank
§ Capital budgeting
§ Private investment bonding
§ Loan guarantees
§ Build America Bonds
§ Environmental permit streamlining
o Complete the long-overdue reauthorization of surface transportation programs to bring our infrastructure to a state of good repair and ensure our long-term competitiveness.
· Aviation
o Complete the long-overdue FAA reauthorization to invest in and accelerate the development of a satellite-based Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) to increase the safety, efficiency and reliability of our air transport system.
o Reauthorize FAA to enhance our aviation system and allow airports the flexibility to collect the revenue necessary to improve our facilities, which will increase the efficiency of our air transportation system, reduce delays, and improve safety.
· Rail
o Implement true world class high-speed rail in the United States while maintaining our commitment to traditional passenger rail service.
· Goods Movement
o Modernize our nation's ports to help businesses, small and large, sell their goods to customers at home and abroad through mechanisms such as the reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act and reforming the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.
o Keep our rivers and seaports open for business by reallocating idle resources in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund towards dredging our nation's ship navigation channels to provide an economically and environmentally efficient means for businesses to transport goods.
o Create and fund a national freight transportation program and national freight mobility strategy that partners with states and territories, metropolitan areas, and the private sector to advance highway, rail and port projects that eliminate chokepoints and increase efficiency for both export, import, and domestic shipping.
· Energy
o Modernize our nation's power system through research grants and incentives to develop a smarter and more reliable power grid.
o Promote fuel efficiency and alternative fuels to generate green jobs, create a domestic clean energy industry, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
· Cyber Infrastructure
o Expand high-speed broadband infrastructure to improve the quality of service and provide a foundation for businesses to grow and innovate.
o Strengthen protections for our critical infrastructure against cyber and physical attacks.

Supporting our nation's manufacturers with policies that foster growth through competition, innovation and expanded exports.
As we look for opportunities to boost private-sector led growth, there are significant ways we can expand and support our manufacturing industries. American manufacturers make or process materials into finished products, often by means of a large-scale industrial operation, making them a leading employer in the U.S. Manufacturing supports an estimated 18.6 million jobs in the U.S.--about one in six private sector jobs. The United States is the world's largest manufacturing economy, producing 21% of global manufactured products.

Supporting existing manufacturing:
· Create a national tax climate that ensures the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers in a global economy.
· Recognize intellectual property (IP) as one of America's competitive strengths that must be defended at all levels.
· Attract and retain the best talent from here in the U.S. and around the world.

Adding new manufacturing:
· Encourage the federal government's continued critical role in basic research and development (R&D).
· Reform our educational system to prepare U.S. students to compete and win 21st century jobs, including through enhanced science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), career and technical education.

Serving as an export market platform of manufactured goods for the world:
· Reform U.S. export controls policy while remaining consistent with national security concerns.
· Assist and energize exporting by small and medium-sized manufacturers through expanded export promotion programs as well as export credit assistance for both small and large firms.

As New Democrats we believe enactment of the above policies will help the United States dramatically improve our infrastructure, enhance the manufacturing sector, and grow our economy.

The New Democrat Coalition Critical Infrastructure and Manufacturing Task Force is led by co-chairs Representative Jason Altmire (PA-4), Representative Rick Larsen (WA-2) and Representative Laura Richardson (CA-37). These principles have been endorsed by the full New Democrat Coalition.

The New Democrat Coalition is a Coalition of 42 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are dedicated to the prosperity and security of American families and business. Founded in 1997, the NDC provides Members of Congress with the opportunity to advance a common sense policy agenda focused on empowering the U.S. to grow economically and maintain a vibrant job market, preserving the U.S. standing as the world's leader in innovation and technological advancement, and strengthening our economic and national security. For more information, visit the New Dems website at http://ndc.crowley.house.gov.


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