Republican officials highlight need for infrastructure investments

By |  July 25, 2016

National-League-of-Cities-logoRepublican elected officials from across the nation explained how infrastructure investments have fueled growth in their local economies at a Republican National Convention panel, according to the National League of Cities (NLC).

NLC adds that the officials say the growth fueled by infrastructure investments supports the case for more federal resources for infrastructure, as well as the preservation of tax-exempt municipal bonds in any tax-reform legislation.

Ray LaHood, who served as secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation from 2009-2013, opened the session by arguing that the federal government should raise the gas tax to generate more money for infrastructure investment, particularly focused on urban areas.

“The next generation of transportation is going to take place in the cities,” LaHood says. “It’s not about building more interstates or bridges; it’s about how people are going to live in communities without needing automobiles. Until we get politicians in [the District of Columbia] and a new administration thinking along the lines of a big pot of money to jumpstart these opportunities, we’re selling ourselves short.”

Other officials, including Clarence Anthony, NLC’s CEO and executive director, say preserving the tax-exemption for municipal bonds is a key priority for local government leaders, as it cuts the cost of infrastructure investment for states, cities, counties and other municipal governments. Additionally, Build America Mutual Chairman Robert Cochran says the tax-exempt municipal bond market is positioned to provide U.S. states, cities, counties and other government agencies with affordable funding to meet the nation’s infrastructure needs.

“There is no doubt that there is municipal market demand and investors that will provide that additional $100 to $150 billion of annual investment that it will take to get to that $1.5 trillion of infrastructure funding that we need in order to make up the gap over the next 10 years,” Cochran says.

Other panel participants included Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors; Fort Worth, Texas, Mayor Betsy Price, who co-chairs the NLC’s presidential elections task force; El Paso County, Colo., Commissioner Sallie Clark, president of the National Association of Counties; and Sheila Amoroso, who managed the municipal bond department at Franklin Resources, one of the largest investors in municipal bonds.

Allison Barwacz

About the Author:

Allison Barwacz is the digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Portable Plants magazine, GPS World magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

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