The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), with $550 billion in new funding for American infrastructure, is giving North Carolina and our nation an immediate bipartisan boost to our transportation, broadband, energy, and water supply networks. It won’t be enough on its own, however, to sustain critical infrastructure assets like our statewide transportation network over the long haul. The NC Chamber’s Destination 2030 Coalition is an alliance of job creators on a mission to modernize transportation funding in North Carolina – and we’re saving a spot for your organization.
Congress’ recent passage of a long-sought, comprehensive infrastructure package, the IIJA, proved that lawmakers can reach across the aisle to secure bipartisan infrastructure solutions. The federal bill will mean big things – big as in billions! – for North Carolina’s transportation, energy, broadband, and water and sewer infrastructure. To help job creators and others in our state sort through the IIJA’s many measures, the NC Chamber recently hosted state and federal infrastructure leaders for an informative webinar, “What the Infrastructure Bill Means for NC” – which you can watch in full here.
Joining us virtually were more than 300 attendees representing a wide range of stakeholders from across our state’s business community and beyond. They came to listen to four speakers who each offered a unique perspective on the IIJA as they discussed its vast potential to help North Carolina secure a stronger, more competitive infrastructure future.
- Ed Mortimer, Vice President of Transportation Infrastructure for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, kicked off the discussion with a broad overview of the IIJA from a federal perspective. Among the many insights he shared, Ed emphasized the importance of bipartisanship in successfully advancing vehicles of comprehensive federal policy like the IIJA. He also discussed the need for stakeholders in North Carolina to come together under the auspices of natural “conveners” like the NC Chamber to ensure we take full advantage of the new infrastructure funding made available to us in the bill. View this handout from the U.S. Chamber for additional details on navigating this funding process.
- Nora Blalock, Legislative Director with the Office of U.S. Representative David Price (Chair of Congress’ Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Committee, or T-HUD) is part of a team that has worked for years toward a transformative federal infrastructure package like the IIJA. She brought her highly involved perspective to share details about the billions of discretionary spending made available in the IIJA and explore how the bill will help North Carolina address state-specific needs like runway modernization at our busiest airports.
- John McDonald, Senior Legislative Assistant for the Office of U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (an early champion of the IIJA whose vocal support alongside that of his U.S. Senate colleague, Sen. Thom Tillis, was essential to advance the bill beyond the Senate) spoke from a vantage point close to the bipartisan process so integral to the bill’s passage. He specifically noted the importance of the rural infrastructure investments carved out in the IIJA and the opportunities they will create to enhance rural economic development in our state.
- Amna Cameron, Deputy Director for the NC Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Office of Strategic Initiatives & Program Support, provided her viewpoint as a state-focused transportation official with years of experience working to ensure funds allocated for infrastructure are invested wisely and efficiently here in North Carolina. She explained how the IIJA will increase NCDOT formula funds by $8.7 billion over five years (an overall boost of 32% and a 21% boost for highway funding). Amna’s detailed presentation covered a wide range of topics, from the IIJA’s impacts on NCDOT process improvements to the opportunities it will offer our state to compete for new discretionary infrastructure allocations.
The NC Chamber thanks these presenters for joining us to bring more clarity around the IIJA’s potentially transformative impacts on our infrastructure – the backbone of everything that connects our businesses and moves commerce and life throughout our communities. Remember, however, that the passage of the IIJA is just a start. We’ll need to foster more collaboration and cooperation here in North Carolina to make sure we maximize the bill’s game-changing potential and ensure our leaders follow the federal example to pass bold, bipartisan infrastructure reforms at the state level.