Building America’s Future Transportation Summit

Dec 15, 2010

Lahood_rendell_riley Earlier today, US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was the keynote speaker at a Transportation Summit held here in Charleston. The event gathered national, state, and local leaders to discuss the importance of investing in infrastructure to ensure economic competitiveness and quality of life. Secretary LaHood announced a new website that will help companies know if someone has requested a “Buy American” waiver so that any American company can easily see if they can fill a particular need. The Highway Trust Fund  was highlighted as something that will be part of the debate going forward in Washington as the President does not want to raise the gas tax at this time. Public/Private partnerships, tolling, and the National Infrastructure Bank are all expected to play a role in future funding.

Jim Rossman, Managing Director of Lazard Ltd’s Power, Energy, and Infrastructure Group, asserted that up to a trillion dollars in infrastructure funding opportunities were put together a few years ago and are now sitting on balance sheets. He sees the keys to tapping into this as having an identifiable supply of projects, a clear process timeline, and commitment from key stakeholders. Pennsylvania Governor Rendell and Grant Holland, Director of Wilbur Smith’s Public-Private Initiatives, both urged the broader thinking of infrastructure to include not just the construction process but the ability for our economy to get goods and services to market. Said Holland, “It’s not just infrastructure – it’s logistics.” The event was sponsored by the Association of General Contractors, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the City of Charleston, and the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and Building America’s Future Educational Fund.

Author: Heather Dolan