WASHINGTON, D.C. — On November 30, 2022, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing to examine private sector perspectives on the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Below is the opening statement of Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you all for joining Senator Capito and me today as our Committee holds its fourth hearing on the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Today, we will examine this law from the perspective of stakeholders from the private sector. This hearing is an opportunity for us to explore what is working well and to identify potential improvements for future infrastructure legislation.
“As I have said before, our Committee played an integral role in developing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“Shortly after President Biden took office last year, he invited several members of this Committee to a meeting in the oval office. During that meeting, he urged us to get to work developing bipartisan legislation to invest in our roads, highways, and bridges. That is exactly what we did. Ultimately, our Committee’s success in crafting — and unanimously advancing — robust surface transportation and drinking water and wastewater legislation, made the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law possible.
“When we began working on the highway portion of the law, we sought input from a variety of stakeholders, including many in the private sector. At the time, it was clear to me that our bipartisan legislation would be a vehicle through which we could achieve many important objectives.
“First, our infrastructure programs could help reduce emissions from our transportation sector, a sector that accounts for nearly 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions nationwide.
“New programs could also improve the resilience of our transportation systems and reduce our vulnerability to extreme weather, such as the heat waves and flooding we continue to witness across our country and planet.
“Additionally, our highway programs and policies could improve the safety of our nation’s roads, where more than 40,000 people tragically lost their lives last year.
“But, across all of these critical objectives and policy goals, I also sought to uphold another key principle: that our infrastructure should help to create a nurturing environment for job creation and preservation.
“When I was privileged to be the Governor of Delaware, I would often say that government should work together with our partners in the private sector to expand opportunities for people to access good jobs. That is why I’m delighted to be here today as we hear from five representatives of private sector businesses and associations.
“The witnesses gathered before us today represent a range of industries: from road builders and contractors to bus fleet operators, from materials suppliers to electric charging network providers. Their perspectives are critical.
“Why, you might ask? The programs that our Committee created in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the work that our partners in federal, state, and local agencies are leading to implement these programs, are only part of the equation.
“The industries represented here today, along with many other private sector entities, also play a pivotal role in the success of our transportation investments.
“These businesses contract with public agencies to provide the materials, workforce, engineering skills, vehicles, and manufactured products that transportation agencies rely upon to see projects through to completion.
“As we all know, private sector industries invest in important research and develop innovative approaches to deliver projects that improve mobility, safety, and sustainability.
“It is also worth noting that the private sector will benefit tremendously from the new opportunities created through this once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides more than $350 billion for our nation’s highway programs, including a 34 percent increase to state formula funds. This increase will translate to more contracts and business opportunities for our private sector partners and their employees. While the private sector businesses that participate in federal contracts need to be able to operate profitably, they will also face important requirements and expectations.
“When developing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we took care to ensure that our new programs would support congressional priorities. Statutory requirements and regulations will ensure that our infrastructure dollars support domestic manufacturing, provide commonsense labor protections, and reduce emissions from vehicles and materials.
“As we implement these programs, I believe it’s critical to find the balance between achieving our policy goals while also providing long-term certainty so that businesses can engage profitably.
“I also believe that we will make more progress in advancing our national goals if we allow the private sector to participate fully and constructively, driving behavior across industry and leveraging our federal funding with private investment to achieve the greatest possible outcome.
“My hope is that our panel of witnesses today will share their thoughts on how federal agencies can best structure programs and regulations to achieve these goals of reducing emissions, improving safety, making our infrastructure more resilient, and — last but not least — fostering job creation and preservation here at home.”