The Washington-based Brookings Institution has released a policy paper intended to provide progressive “21st century” guidelines for the Joe Biden administration’s proposed massive infrastructure program, but two senators speaking at a Brookings webinar recently suggested traditional infrastructure imperatives will remain a primary focus of the spend.
President Biden unveiled what he called his “once-in-a-generation investment in America” at a carpenters training centre in Pennsylvania March 31, pledging to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure. The Brookings event, held earlier this month, was billed as Rebuilding American Infrastructure for the 21st Century.
During her closing address at the webinar, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, served notice that in her view top priorities to enable the U.S. economy to profit from growing global middle-class demand should be megaprojects and moving freight.
“America’s competitiveness can be summed up in one way — freight can’t wait,” said Cantwell.
“If freight can’t get to a market in a timely fashion, or you’re stuck in Chicago and can’t get product across America, shelf space in Asia is not going to wait. They will get product from other places, they will get it from South America, they’ll get it from Canada. They will impact the competitiveness of the United States.”
Cantwell said a decade ago she visited Shanghai and saw an…