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Portland Congressman Leading Push for Federal Infrastructure Investment

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) has been selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to lead a campaign to 'Renew and Rebuild America.'

The article excerpts a speech made by Congressman Blumenauer at a recent conference entitled, "Rebuilding and Renewing America: Toward a 21st Century Infrastructure Investment Plan," hosted by the Regional Planning Association's America 2050 project.

"We need to be honest with the American public: we, in fact, need to invest more money in our infrastructure. Not just borrowing more money or selling off a few assets here and there-we need more money in the overall system. Absolutely, there is a role for creative finance, for innovative partnerships, for stretching resources, but at core, we need more money and we need to send the right pricing signals."

"We've introduced HB 5976, with over 20 bipartisan co-sponsors, which would put in place an effort to create that commission for an infrastructure plan for this century-not just transportation, but sewer and water, the electrical grid, and broadband. We need a big, comprehensive picture so that people know what the challenge is and what their role is. We need to change the value proposition, because we can squeeze more value out of what we're doing if we're able to break down some of these silos, if we're able to realign what the federal partnership looks like and focus on helping people rebuild and renew their communities."

Full Story: Congressman Earl Blumenauer Energizes Federal Effort to ‘Rebuild and Renew America’



Good Ideas About Infrastructure

I'm glad to see that Pelosi selected Blumenauer as the point man on infrastructure. Lots of good ideas in his speech, such as:

There is money wasted right now by people stuck in traffic, maybe on their way to ride a stationary bike at a health club.

If one-tenth of us had areas where we could conveniently walk to destinations and have the incentive to do so, we would save over $5.5 billion a year of heart-related medical costs alone.

If we stop putting people in the flame zone, in areas that we know are subject to repeated wildfires, we will reduce the cost of fighting fires dramatically.

There are simple imperatives that will make a difference. Bikes and streetcars, walkable communities, completing the street grid, street trees for shade ....

Charles Siegel

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