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January 13, 2021 4:45 PM, EST

‘No Excuse for Failure’ on Infrastructure Policy, US Chamber Leader Says

Crew works on Indiana bridgeA crew works on a bridge in Indiana. “[Infrastructure] is the No. 1 way to raise productivity, to create jobs and drive up incomes in a hurry,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue said. (Indiana Department of Transportation)

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Approving comprehensive legislation aimed at upgrading the country’s infrastructure systems is a way for federal lawmakers and the incoming Biden administration to stimulate an economy hard-hit by the pandemic, the leader of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said.

During his annual update on the status of the nation’s business affairs, Tom Donohue, the chamber’s CEO, insisted Democrats who will manage the congressional chambers via narrow majorities over the next two years, as well as President-elect Joe Biden, are presented with a long-overdue legislative opportunity.

“[Infrastructure] is the No. 1 way to raise productivity, to create jobs and drive up incomes in a hurry,” Donohue said Jan. 12.

Donohue

“Our lawmakers should enact a fiscally and environmentally responsive and responsible infrastructure package that focuses on urgent needs like roads, bridges, modernizes our critical networks and upgrades and expands technology like broadband,” he continued. “Let’s just get together, find a way to pay for it, and let’s get moving. This year, there can be no excuse for failure.”

RELATED: Substantial Investments Needed for Infrastructure, ASCE Report Says

In recent years, the group has endorsed increasing the federal fuel tax rate as an approach for generating additional revenue for infrastructure projects. The 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax and 24.4 cents-per-gallon diesel tax were approved by Congress in 1993.

Several officials tapped for the incoming administration are pointing to the potential for advancing a robust climate change-centric infrastructure package during their first 100 days. However, congressional transportation leaders have yet to outline a comprehensive funding plan related to infrastructure policy.

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