Thursday, March 7, 2013
News Roundup

2013 State of the State: Infrastructure Mentions

It's that time of year again... Governors across the nation are making State of the State speeches to set their vision and policy agenda for 2013.

Curious how they’re prioritizing infrastructure? Reforming how projects are funded? Planning on upgrading our water infrastructure and repair our roads/bridges? BAF created this webpage to serve as a one-stop-shop for any infrastructure-related mentions.

As of February 4, 2013...

  • Alabama Gov. Robert Bently (R) -February 5, 2013

Governor Bentley knows that companies depend on well-functioning infrastructure when they make decisions to locate factories:

“Last year, cities and counties across this state were finally able to begin much-needed improvements to their roads and bridges. We launched the largest road and bridge improvement program in Alabama’s history. ATRIP – the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program – allows counties to make much-needed repairs to roads and bridges. As of this week, 439 road and bridge projects have been approved. 61 of Alabama’s 67 counties are seeing their roads repaired and bridges fixed. 614 million dollars in projects have been approved.

Everyone benefits from ATRIP. When companies build new factories, they look for areas with good roads and bridges. ATRIP is giving them what they need.”

  • California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) - Jan. 24, 2013

Whether it’s by road or by rail, Governor Brown knows that having a modern and dependable transportation system is the ticket to economic prosperity:

“In the years following World War II, California embarked on a vast program to build highway, bridges and roads.

Today, California’s highways are asked to accommodate more vehicle traffic than any other state in the nation. Most were constructed before we knew about climate change and the lethal effects of dirty air. We now expect more.

I have directed our Transportation Agency to review thoroughly our current priorities and explore long-term funding options.

Last year, you authorized another big project: High Speed Rail. Yes, it is bold but so is everything else about California. 

Electrified trains are part of the future. China already has 5000 miles of high speed rail and intends to double that. Spain has 1600 miles and is building more. More than a dozen other countries have their own successful high speed rail systems. Even Morocco is building one. 

The first phase will get us from Madera to Bakersfield. Then we will take it through the Tehachapi Mountains to Palmdale, constructing 30 miles of tunnels and bridges. The first rail line through those mountains was built in 1874 and its top speed over the crest is still 24 miles an hour. Then we will build another 33 miles of tunnels and bridges before we get the train to its destination at Union Station in the heart of Los Angeles.


It has taken great perseverance to get us this far. I signed the original high speed rail Authority in 1982—over 30 years ago. In 2013, we will finally break ground and start construction.”

Link to Address:

  • Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D) - Jan. 8, 2013

Governor Malloy understands that infrastructure making infrastructure more resilient can better protect lives and property in the event of severe storms or other emergencies:

“In 2011, Connecticut was rocked by the worst winter in our history, two storms packing a one-two punch the likes of which we hadn’t seen in more than 25 years. Tropical Storm Irene and the October Nor’easter revealed holes in our emergency response system that should have been addressed years, if not decades ago.

It was a wake-up call… and we woke up.

We put in place new procedures to better coordinate our emergency response infrastructure.

We commissioned a “Two Storm Panel” to investigate exactly what went wrong and to determine what needed to be done to prevent unacceptable power and communication disruptions. That panel led directly to the passage of tough new laws; laws that hold Connecticut utility companies accountable for how they respond to emergencies.

And we created a new energy micro-grid program to increase energy reliability in critical areas.

These weren’t quick fixes or window dressing. They were the result of saying we’d had enough – it was time to do more.

What does it all mean for Connecticut residents? We know we will again feel the brunt of powerful weather. But we can tell our citizens that their state is more prepared for future challenges, that their families will be safer when disaster strikes, and that the odds of anyone having to needlessly suffer through prolonged power outages have been greatly diminished.

When Hurricane Sandy struck, we saw results from the work we’d done together. While we can never entirely prevent damage or power outages, the response was better and faster."

Link to Address:

  • Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) - Jan. 17, 2013

Governor Markell understands that in order to grow his state’s economy energy infrastructure must be efficient and reliable:

“For manufacturers and other businesses, we know the reliability and cost of energy is key. We need to expand our energy portfolio, reduce costs and improve air quality.

….First, we import too much of our electricity from dirty and expensive sources. Over the last four years, we have reduced emissions more than any other state, while also reducing energy bills and health impacts by hundreds of millions of dollars. But we need more local generation. That is why we support numerous utility-scale clean and efficient natural gas plants and cost-effective clean energy projects – Calpine’s new Dover plant, the conversion of NRG’s Energy Center, the Municipal Electric Corporation’s new Smyrna plant, and numerous solar, biogas and fuel cell projects.

Second, we need to expand natural gas infrastructure across our state. Too many in Delaware are paying too much for energy because they are too far from a pipeline to bring them affordable natural gas. The energy savings from fuel switching are substantial and can cover the costs of new infrastructure. To help businesses and residents save money, we are working with both Delmarva and Chesapeake to make it easier for businesses to switch to cheaper and cleaner energy.

Third, as Senator Harris McDowell often says, the cheapest energy remains the energy we don’t use. We have made progress on improving energy efficiency working with the Delaware Electric Co-op, but we can do more to help save money by making efficiency Delaware’s “first fuel.” This year, let’s pass legislation to encourage our utilities to prioritize energy efficiency when it is cheaper than buying electricity from the grid.

These steps to encourage entrepreneurship and keep Delaware energy competitive go hand-in-hand with our efforts to improve our schools, strengthen our workforce, and enhance our quality of life. They are all part of our larger effort to make Delaware globally competitive as a place to do business and create jobs. These efforts have paid off in recent years, and they continue to pay off. “

  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) - March 5, 2013

 Governor Scott knows that investments in making his state’s seaports competitive will result in increased economic growth and job creation:

“Companies like Northrop Grumman, Johnson & Johnson and Goya show how manufacturing businesses - combined with Florida's great location and 15 seaports - means more jobs.

Bill Johnson, Director of the Port of Miami and Chairman of the Florida Ports Council, is also here. When the Miami port dredge project is completed, along with the Panama Canal expansion, thousands of new jobs will be created.

Wes, Dave, Frank and Bill - will you all please stand?

Please join me in honoring these great leaders in job-creation here today and all the manufacturing leaders and port directors in Florida.”


  • Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) - Jan. 17, 2013

Whether it is airports or seaport, Governor Deal understands their importance to goods and people movement and an economic engine to his state:

“Our state is blessed to have the busiest airport in the world in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport. This provides us with rapid access to and from about 80 percent of the U.S. population within two hours. It is also one of the reasons certain businesses are coming to our state.

Another asset is the Port of Savannah, the fourth largest container port in the country and the second largest on the East Coast. As you know, we have worked for many years to expand the Savannah Harbor and deepen the channel in order to allow the larger vessels that will soon be coming through the Panama Canal to dock in our state. We are very pleased that last fall we succeeded in getting a positive Record of Decision from the federal government. This is a major milestone on this project.”

  • Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) - Jan. 22, 2013

With interest rates at all time lows, Governor Abercrombie knows that the climate for infrastructure investment is perfect:

“The question is, will we continue to invest in the economy via construction and repair/maintenance projects and public private ventures. Not only is this important to ensure that communities, schools and our residents continue to have much needed infrastructure, buildings and improvements, but we can do so at historic low interests rates, saving the state millions of dollars in debt service. More importantly, these projects could mean that the state not only will be investing back into our economy, but through partnerships generate needed revenue not otherwise available. I have asked Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui to take a lead role in working to expedite addressing this opportunity."

  • Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) - February 6, 2013

Ensuring access to clean drinking water is a priority for Governor Quinn:

“Four years ago, we had leaky pipes, broken water mains and obsolete wastewater treatment facilities.


Some of the pipes still in use in Chicago were laid when Ulysses S. Grant was president of our country.

That’s why one year ago, right here in this chamber, I made a commitment to every Illinois resident to update our water systems and make sure that everyone has access to clean drinking water.

Through our Illinois Clean Water Initiative, we’re investing $1 billion in clean water…supporting more than 28,000 jobs to replace broken water systems, upgrade sewers, and clean up environmental threats.”

  • Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) - Jan. 22, 2013

In laying out his plan to create more jobs and improve Indiana’s economic competitiveness, Governor Pence understands that an efficient and reliable transportation system is essential:

“And since roads mean jobs, we're investing nearly $347 million in excess reserves on Indiana's roads, bridges and infrastructure.”

Link to Address:

  • Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) - Jan. 15, 2013

Smart infrastructure policy is not always about new investment.  Reforming outdated or redundant  policies is just as important.  Governor Brownback understands that bringing greater accountability to government will bring greater efficiency:

“My administration has worked to restructure and reform state government to be more efficient and more effective. But there is a lot more we can do.

One of the clearest examples of duplication in state government is the fact that we have two highway departments: the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority. 

It is time that we realize the efficiencies to be gained by placing these two operations under the same umbrella. We don’t need two highway departments in Kansas. One is enough.

By bringing these two large organizations together under the direction of the Secretary of Transportation, we will serve the public better and more efficiently.”

Link to Address:

  • Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) - February 5, 2013

Governor LePage knows that access to affordable energy is important for citizens and businesses alike: 

“The average Maine family spends more than $3,000 dollars per year to fill their oil tank. With access to natural gas, this same family could save an average of $800 dollars per year. 

My predecessor fast tracked permitting for wind projects; I am going to do the same for all natural gas infrastructure and Maine businesses. 

And we should continue to not pick favorites when it comes to energy, and I welcome every energy source that is cost effective for hard working, struggling Maine families.

Link to Address:

  • Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) - January 30, 2013

Governor O’Malley knows that strategic investments in infrastructure has the ability to create jobs and to improve quality of life:

“We have the worst traffic congestion in the country. Building a 21st century transportation network won’t happen by itself. We could be creating thousands of jobs and alleviating traffic congestion at the same time. We can either figure this out together, or every citizen in our State will continue to waste more time and more money sitting in more traffic.”

  • Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) - January 16, 2013

Governor Patrick knows that smart investments in infrastructure promote economic growth:

“We invest in infrastructure because rebuilding our roads, rails, bridges, expanding broadband to every community, building new classrooms and labs and more affordable housing gives private initiative and personal ambition the platform for growth.

…..Our citizens do not want less transportation. They want more. They do not want us to spend more on the same old thing or just move money around from one idea to the next. They want us to invest in a disciplined and strategic way in the things that improve the quality of their lives and grow their opportunities.”

  • Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) - January 16, 2013

As part of a multi-pronged plan to continue to rejuvenate Michigan’s economy, create jobs and enhance quality of life, Governor Snyder has proposed a plan to make strategic investments in the state’s transportation network:

"Investing money in our roads and bridges today saves money in the long run," Snyder said. "It also builds the foundation for our 21st century economy. We know what needs to be done. Let's fix our roads."

Link to video of Address:

  • Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) - February 6, 2013

Governor Dayton understands that reliable infrastructure is the backbone of his state’s economy:

“And I have not even mentioned tonight … nor does my budget address … the critical need to invest in improving our highways, roads, and bridges statewide; our public transit systems; our ageing infrastructure; and the list goes on.”

  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) - January 30, 2013

Governor Bullock knows that by taking advantage of record low interest rates, more infrastructure projects can be built and more jobs will be created:  

“That’s why Rep. Galen Hollenbaugh and I – along with the Montana Chamber of Commerce, the Montana Contractors Association and others – have joined together to propose record investments in our educational facilities. 

It’s called the J.O.B.S. Bill, which stands for Jobs and Opportunity by Building Schools. We can take advantage of historically low interest rates and immediately create thousands of jobs across the state – and do it without raising taxes. 

Stand with me and the over 2,500 construction workers we want to put to work building world class schools for our world class workforce.”

  • New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) - February 14, 2013

Governor Hassan understands that under-maintained infrastructure can have real impacts on the citizens and commerce:  

“And to truly seize the promise that innovation presents, we must come together and take on one of our most difficult long-standing challenges: New Hampshire's deteriorating roads and bridges.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gives our roads a C minus, and the I-93 expansion project remains unfinished.

Hundreds of our bridges are on the "red list" of bridges in critical need of repair - risking public safety and our economy.

Just three weeks ago, we all saw the price of years of neglect and under-funding of the highway fund when the Department of Transportation was forced to abruptly close the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge. This comes on the heels of the immediate closure of the Memorial Bridge in 2011.

With the Memorial Bridge already out of service, we were left with only one way to cross the Piscataqua River into and out of Maine, snarling traffic and impeding the flow of goods that is so critical to our economy. In addition, without being able to lift the Long Bridge, oil tankers were stuck in place.

If it weren't for the quick work of our dedicated public employees at the Department of Transportation, work that was extremely dangerous hundreds of feet above open water in bitter cold and high winds, we might have seen a significant spike in energy prices as our oil supply sat idle on the water.

Maintaining and repairing our state's roads and bridges and funding transportation projects are crucial for our economy. Creating a solid, modern infrastructure will attract new businesses and industries, while helping our existing businesses grow, transport their goods, and create new jobs.

But as it stands, we barely have enough to do the very minimum: patching roads and bridges together, plowing our highways, and keeping state troopers on the road. Our transportation trust fund faces a $740 million shortfall over the next ten years. There are no more one-time fixes.

We must develop strategies for a long-term solution, for both operations and road construction, and we must do it together, working towards a consensus solution. There have already been proposals offered in both chambers, and I thank Senator Morse and Representative Campbell for the work they have done.

I stand ready to work with any member of either party who is willing to bring constructive, long-term ideas to the table so we can build a consensus solution that will help us begin to improve our roads and bridges and finish I-93.”

  • New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) - January 15, 2013

Governor Martinez understands that smart infrastructure investments are key to long term economic development:

 “I’m also asking the Legislature to pass job-creating infrastructure projects, projects like the Paseo del Norte expansion we passed last session, or for water systems, roads, and dam repair. These types of projects create immediate jobs to kick-start our economy, while also building the infrastructure necessary for long-term economic development. And when we invest in local projects, let’s make sure they’re vetted, prioritized, and fully-funded.”

 Link to Address:

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) - Jan. 9, 2013
As New York continues to recover and rebuild from the devastation it suffered from Hurricane Sandy, Governor Cuomo used his State of the State speech to outline his plan for rebuilding the state’s critical infrastructure.

  • North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) - Jan. 8, 2013

Governor Dalrymple knows that wise investments in his state’s transportation infrastructure are good economics and will keep his state’s economy thriving:

“Another challenge created by rapid growth is the maintenance and improvement of our roads and highways. These one-time infrastructure investments are the best use of our reserve funds because they will pay back to all of us for decades to come. Being able to move our products, people and services from place to place is at the very core of a thriving economy. But it's not just about industry and commercial development. Providing a safe and convenient road system to every corner of the state is a basic necessity for people living in a rural state.

To put our commitment in perspective, we increased the Department of Transportation budget by more than $500 million in the current biennium for critical road and highway improvements. For the 2013-2015 biennium we need another increase of more than $1 billion for state highways, county road systems, township roads, bridges, interchanges, and other North Dakota, infrastructure improvements across the state. This funding increase would bring the Department of Transportation's total budget to $2.7 billion. The level of activity in our state demands that we keep up with these long-term investments.”

Link to address:

  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) - February 20, 2013


Governor Kasich knows that having quality infrastructure is essential to attracting businesses and manufacturers to his state:

“I'd like to talk about another job creation program, our plan to improve the infrastructure, our roads, our highway, our bridges. We're within 600 miles of 60 percent of the country. It is an incredible economic advantage when I talk to CEOs, I said you want access to the North American market, you want to be in Ohio. We’ve got the size, the skill, the people, but we got the location. We can move things so quickly through our state because we're improving our infrastructure.

You know, the fact is when you make things here you got to be able to move them. But here's the problem. We have significant infrastructure needs. Under the current system, we fall way short of funding those needs. So we figured out a creative way to leverage one of our great assets, the Turnpike. By bonding against the tolls of the Ohio Turnpike, we're going to be able to raise one and a half billion, and when combines with other federal, state, and local funds, we will have $3 billion, $3 billion to fix our roads, our highways, and our bridges.”

Link to Address:


  • Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) - February 4, 2013

Infrastructure investment also means ensuring that existing assets are being properly maintained and repaired:

“Together we have also improved our transportation infrastructure by supporting the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s eight-year plan as well as the initiative to repair all of our structurally deficient highway bridges. Because of that support, we are quickly seeing impressive results: structurally deficient highway bridges have been reduced by 20 percent since January of 2011.”

Link to Address:

  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) - February 5, 2013
Governor Corbett understands that mass transit is as critical to his state’s economy as are functioning and well-maintained roads and bridges: 

“Transportation is the bloodstream of our economy. If it fails, our economy fails.
However, the average bridge in our state is 51 years old. More than 4,000 of them
are now deemed structurally deficient. In rural areas, some roads have been
essentially cut in half because failing bridges have been closed to traffic,
interrupting emergency services and threatening public safety.

Each day, one-and-a-half million Pennsylvania students travel in school buses
across those very same bridges and roads. Our mass transit system has staggered
under growing demand, aging infrastructure, and a lack of funding.

Mass transit is crucial to sparing our highways from congestion and providing a
reliable environmentally friendly and affordable means of moving around a region.
Yet our customary way of funding transportation has fallen short of our needs.”

“………..I am calling on the legislature to pass a 17 percent reduction in the flat liquid fuels tax paid by consumers at the pump.

Second, I am asking the general assembly to begin a five-year phase out of an
artificial and outdated cap on the tax paid by oil and gas companies on the
wholesale price of gasoline.

This cap was put in place at a time when experts assumed the price of a gallon of
gas would never go beyond $1.25. It has gone to more than triple that rate in
recent years.

This is not a new tax, nor am I proposing to increase the rate of the existing tax.
I am simply saying the time has come to apply it to the full value of what the
company is selling. It is time for oil and gas companies to pay their fair share of the
cost of the infrastructure supporting their industry.

Our most costly option would be to do nothing. It will cost us in repairs, it will cost
us in rebuilding, and it could cost us in tragedies we might have avoided.”
  • Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) - January 16, 2013

Governor Chafee knows that modern and reliable infrastructure is a key component of economic growth and prosperity:

“Many studies show that you can’t build a good economy without good infrastructure. Rhode Island is the second‐most densely populated state and one of the most heavily traveled, all in a coastal salt air environment – and our infrastructure takes a beating.

Maintenance of our roads and bridges is critical. Make no mistake: strengthening our infrastructure is an integral part of improving our economic competitiveness.

….Being more proactive about routine repairs and maintenance will also help us avoid costly replacement projects in the future. Unfortunately, we have seen a number of these in recent years, including the Sakonnet River Bridge. They have cost the taxpayers significantly and have forced hard decisions to be made. I do not want to have to rebuild another bridge because of lack of proper maintenance. This is not going to happen as long as I am Governor. We must invest in our infrastructure. “

  • South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) - Jan. 16, 2013

Governor Haley understands that a strong and reliable infrastructure is essential to further economic development:

“Our roads, our bridges – they simply aren’t up to standard. More than 1,000 of South Carolina’s bridges are either load-restricted or structurally deficient.

First and foremost, it’s a public safety issue. The citizens of South Carolina deserve to drive on roads that aren’t littered with potholes and on bridges they know won’t fall down.

It’s a core function of government. But it’s also an economic development issue.

South Carolina has announced our self as the new superstar of American manufacturing. We build things.  We build planes.

We build cars. We build tires.  We build more ATVs than anywhere else in the world.

We need roads and bridges that match the quality of the companies that manufacture in our great state. And we will get them.

  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) - Jan. 28, 2013

Providing services such as transportation infrastructure is a critical function of government.  Governor  Haslam noted:

“As I said earlier, our role in state government is to provide services that Tennesseans aren’t able to get on their own – we build roads, offer higher education options, guard prisoners, help families adopt children, care for the mentally ill, patrol highways, serve veterans, and perform hundreds of other services.

My job as governor is to make sure we are providing those services in a customer-focused and effective way.”

  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) - Jan. 29, 2013

Governor Perry knows that how important reliable and efficient infrastructure is to his state’s economic competitiveness and quality of life:

“Our surging arts communities are yet another reason so many people and employers are choosing to come to Texas. As our population expands and industries grow across our state, the demand is increasing upon the fundamental building blocks of our communities.

This session, we need to deal with our state's infrastructure needs. We must particularly address our growing needs in water and transportation.

Doing that without breaking the budget will require creativity and some "outside-the-box" thinking.  I believe one answer lies within our Rainy Day Fund.

The Rainy Day Fund was created to ensure we had a sufficient amount in reserve in case of disaster, and to ensure Texas maintains its strong credit rating.

Due to our economic success, the fund will soon hold nearly $12 billion, significantly more than the amount we need to meet those obligations.  We need to maintain a strong Rainy Day Fund.

While we cannot - and will not - raid the fund to meet ongoing expenses, we also shouldn't accumulate billions more than necessary.

That's why I support a move to utilize $3.7 billion from the Rainy Day Fund for a one-time investment in infrastructure programs.

In addition to the Rainy Day Fund investment, we should also end the diversion of State Highway Fund appropriations, which will mean another $1.3 billion every biennium for road maintenance and construction.

What I am proposing will support critical water and transportation systems across our state, addresses our needs both short- and long-term, and ensures both water and traffic will continue to flow in Texas for generations to come.  None of us can deny the need for these improvements.

Water and roads add to the quality of life for all Texans - anyone stuck in traffic at rush hour in our cities can speak to that.  It also plays a major role in our continued economic development.

Whenever we're recruiting a business seeking to relocate or expand, a chief concern of theirs is ensuring there are adequate water, power and transportation systems for their needs.

We've been the nation's top exporting state for 10 years now, and for us to continue that dominance requires a clear way to move goods from one place to another.”

Link to Address:

  • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) - January 30, 2013

Governor Herbert knows that greater oversight and accountability means that important projects can be built faster and come in under budget: 

“Lasting job creation and capital investment hinge on the free flow of commerce, another area where Utah excels.  There is no better example than the I-15 CORE project, built faster than any other billion- dollar highway project in America, and $260 million under budget.  UTA’s commuter rail now runs from Ogden to Provo, two years ahead of schedule and 15% under budget.  We are building the infrastructure that will enable Utah’s future economic success.”

  • Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) - January 10, 2013
Governor Shumlin knows how important high-speed broadband internet access is to his state’s continued and future prosperity:

“We are delivering on our promise to grow prosperity by connecting every last mile of Vermont to high-speed Internet access by the end of this year.”

“…….Let’s face facts for a minute: these opportunities for prosperity, from our southern border to Canada, result from the way technology has transformed Vermont’s economy and our lives.

Think about how technology has changed our daily lives: paying our bills, shopping, communicating online, texting and tweeting our way through the day, managing our finances, keeping tabs on our kids.

Technology allows computers to create products that a decade ago, even five years ago, didn’t exist. It has created a connection to a larger world that allows many more people to do business from Vermont that would not have been possible in the pre-tech world.”

Note:  The Governor’s inaugural address also serves as his State of the State address for 2013.

  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) - Jan. 8, 2013
Governor McDonnell knows that long term transportation infrastructure investments are essential to competitiveness and to enhancing quality of life:
“We must also lay the foundation for a stronger Virginia by modernizing our transportation infrastructure system.”

“…We must reform and reinvest in transportation infrastructure or job growth and quality family time will suffer.”

“…Therefore I ask that you not conclude this session without approving a long-term transportation funding plan for Virginia. Do not send me a budget that does not include new transportation funding. We are all out of excuses. We must act now.”

  • West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) - February 13, 2013

The states have always been laboratories of innovation and Governor Tomblin is looking to carry on that tradition by looking to partner with the private sector to help meet some of West Virginia’s infrastructure financing challenges:

“We also need to find innovative and creative ways to enhance our infrastructure. And while we have a Blue Ribbon Commission examining our road system, one thing I know we must do now is explore and foster public private partnerships to develop our roads.  

In 2008, the Public-Private Partnership Act was passed and signed into law. The Act allowed the West Virginia Division of Highways to partner with a private company on the design and construction of otherwise public transportation facilities. This current structure, however, has limited usefulness. 

Tonight, I’m proposing legislation to make the Act permanent and streamline the approval requirements to allow the Commissioner of Highways the flexibility to enter into these public-private partnerships. This will allow us to take greater advantage of this innovative tool for the construction of infrastructure.”   

  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) - Jan. 15, 2013
Governor Walker knows that a reliable infrastructure means greater economic growth and more jobs for his state:

“Tourism is one of the many industries that benefit from a strong infrastructure system. We need to continue to invest in it to keep people working in Wisconsin.

With this in mind, I am committed to a healthy transportation system that includes roads, bridges, freight rail, ports, and airports. Whether it is traveling to a tourism destination or taking product to and from market, so many of our key industries—manufacturing, dairy products, timber and paper products, cranberries, vegetables, grain, sand—and soon, iron ore mining; so many of these industries depend on our strong transportation backbone.

They need it to keep their competitive edge. The MillerCoors Brewery in Milwaukee is a good example. The plant manager told us that MillerCoors is in a hyper-competitive industry. Every day, they are looking to find any competitive advantage to see who can get a cold beer on a bar in Madison, Green Bay, or even Chicago the fastest. If beer trucks are tied up in the Zoo Interchange, the MillerCoors Brewery here in Wisconsin is at a disadvantage.

In addition to investments in our transportation system, we need to ensure access to cost-effective and reliable sources of power, preserve our clean water advantage, improve availability of high-speed Internet connections and support our quality health care in Wisconsin.”

  • Wyoming Governor Matthew Mead (R) - Jan. 8, 2013
Governor Mead understands the vital link between economic development and infrastructure investment:
“I don’t want to continue every year to deplete large amounts of general funds that could be used for education, for savings, for health, for seniors, or the disabled – in order to fund what is one of the most basic functions of government – providing sound infrastructure. There is no sense in talking about economic development if you don’t have water, sewer, basic infrastructure. 

Roads are the backbone for so much of our commerce, our recreation and our day-to-day living. It is an issue of safety. If we fail to maintain our roads it is no different than failing to maintain a car or a home. The price goes up and a higher price will be paid for poor maintenance. That is not a plan for being fiscally conservative.”



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