01.24.17

Remarks of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Vice Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee Press Conference – A Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure

It wasn’t that long ago when there was general agreement in our country and in Congress about the importance of investing in American infrastructure.  The infrastructure that is needed for workers to get to their jobs, and American products to our markets.  The investments that are needed to help drive our economy forward.  In more recent times, the bipartisanship that used to make that possible has been corrosively undermined by obstructionism.

Letting our infrastructure wind down and whither – not even to mention failing to make the forward-looking innovation investments we should be making in cyber capabilities and power grids -- is irresponsible.  Letting these problems fester has clear and direct implications for American jobs and American vitality, in every American community.

Democrats remain committed to this priority.  We never left the table.  And we have renewed determination, and cautious optimism, that others now will be willing to come to the table.

Democrats remain committed to bold ideas that double down on our successes and pave the way to a brighter, stronger American future.

That is the blueprint we are unveiling today: bold ideas, and a bold vision, for needed improvements not just to our physical infrastructure, but to help rebuild our schools, expand broadband access, bolster our water and sewer systems, rebuild and revitalize our downtowns.

In Vermont, we know that our infrastructure needs aren’t just in our big cities and urban centers.  Often it’s a single bridge that connects a small community to such essential services as grocery stores, health services, and education opportunities.  Longer distances can disadvantage rural communities and farms and businesses and families without adequate investments in roads and communication links.  Any investment in our infrastructure must support rural needs.  This blueprint does that.

Infrastructure is as much about connecting rural communities as it is about energizing our urban hubs.  This blueprint puts us on the right path.  I hope Republicans will join us.

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