A bipartisan coalition of senators on Capitol Hill has voted to advance a historic investment package that would direct billions of dollars toward modernizing America’s infrastructure. The $1.2 trillion package would create $550 billion in new spending over the next five years to revamp and grow our nation’s transportation, broadband, water, and energy networks.
Click here to view the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s in-depth summary of this transformational infrastructure bill.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal at America’s Fingertips
Recently, as the U.S. Senate appeared poised to advance this long-sought national priority, NC Chamber President and CEO Gary Salamido joined job creators from within and beyond North Carolina to reinforce the importance of safe, secure, reliable infrastructure for America and for our state. Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer with the U.S. Chamber, hosted a virtual press event which included Gary, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Natalie English, and Charlotte Regional Business Alliance President and CEO Janet LaBar.
Together, they commended the bipartisan efforts that have carried us to this moment, including the leadership of North Carolina’s voices in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Richard Burr and Sen. Thom Tillis. They also called for these leaders to keep the bill moving forward and for leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives to show the same commitment to bipartisan action on national infrastructure priorities. With its passage in the Senate, the House is now expected to take up the bill when they return from a break in September.
Investment Package Ripe with Possibility for NC
For North Carolina, these investments promise to jump start job growth, invigorate community development, expand opportunity, and improve quality of life for millions of people across our state. They include an expected $7.2 billion to revamp and expand the 3,100 miles of federal highways within our state and more than $450 million for much-needed repairs to a growing list of deteriorated bridges. These investments, in addition to fueling our success, will lead to safer roads and lower costs for North Carolina drivers. Additional funds will diversify public transit options and enhance airport, port, rail, and multimodal infrastructure across our state. At least $100 million would go toward expanding access to broadband connections for the more than 400,000 North Carolinians who currently lack one. And roughly $65 million would get invested directly into our energy grid.
On the recent press call touting these impacts, Natalie English wisely emphasized how these investments will better enable our state to proactively support stronger, more resilient infrastructure networks. From her home base on the coast – where hurricanes and other natural threats present heightened developmental and operational challenges – she understands this need all too well. Meanwhile, Janet LaBar, who focuses on the state’s largest metro area, explained how the bill would bolster connections between communities that function as pieces of a larger whole. This improved connectivity will help ensure each region of our state can capitalize on their own unique growth prospects while enabling the state as a whole to more easily leverage synergy across regions, facilitating the growth of opportunity in underserved and rural areas of North Carolina.
North Carolina’s remarkable evolution into a premier destination state has been powered in large part by a strong, diverse community of job creators and the world-class talent they employ. The efforts and contributions of our business community – like the life-saving vaccines leading the fight against COVID-19 and countless other innovations with a homegrown connection to our state – are driving growth here at home and making impacts far beyond our small corner of the Southeast. As a state, we’ve done almost everything right to supercharge our success, optimize our advantages, and solidify our position as a major player in a 21st century global economy. Almost everything, that is, except committing to 21st century infrastructure development strategies.
This historic infrastructure package would bring us one step closer to securing that commitment. The NC Chamber, in addition to applauding this strong demonstration of bipartisan leadership from federal leaders, thanks the U.S. Chamber team and our pro-growth partners in North Carolina for helping us convey the critical importance of this legislation for communities across our state.
Can Federal Action Spur State-Level Commitments?
Infrastructure action at the federal level is not enough for North Carolina, however. We must show that same willingness to take bold action here at the state level. This year, the NC Chamber and our partners on the Destination 2030 Coalition are calling for our leaders to do just that when it comes to our state-supported transportation infrastructure. With state senators and representatives in the N.C. General Assembly working to negotiate a two-year budget for North Carolina and bring the current legislative session to a close, we are strongly urging them to activate bold, 21st century solutions to support our statewide transportation network.