Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure

Investing in American infrastructure is a central factor in ensuring a thriving economy and moving our country forward.

A thriving economy can’t exist without properly funded infrastructure. As Mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper brought Republican and Democratic Mayors together to pass the largest expansion of expansion of light rail in modern American history. [1] As Governor, Hickenlooper brought together lawmakers from both parties to pass a plan to bring all of Colorado’s 64 counties reliable broadband service. [2]

Hickenlooper’s plan for America’s infrastructure revolves around a trillion-dollar federal investment in infrastructure, with a particularly strong emphasis on:

  • Clean energy initiatives and projects designed to reduce traffic, create more multi-modal options, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Major investments in rural areas so that every community regardless of where has access to reliable broadband service.

These investments will be paid for in part by a partial repeal of the Trump-Ryan tax cut. The Governor will also incentivize the types of private-public partnerships that have given birth to so many urban revitalization projects across the country, including Lower Downtown Denver.

Historic green jobs program

Green jobs are the jobs of the future for every community. Colorado now has as many clean energy jobs as extraction jobs, and solar, wind, and energy efficiency jobs are one of the state’s fastest growing jobs sectors. Under Hickenlooper’s leadership, all 64 counties in Colorado saw tremendous growth in clean energy. In Colorado, it’s now cheaper to produce renewable energy than any other type. Coal-fired power plants there are closing and being replaced with renewables.

Hickenlooper wants to invest in clean energy job growth and address our massive need for more multimodal transportation in cities. That’s why this plan will not only include funding for our backlog of transportation projects, but $200 billion will be set aside to revolutionize our transportation network and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Hickenlooper will also spend $150 billion upgrading America’s electric grid to be more efficient and better equipped to utilize our massive renewable energy growth.

Expansion of BUILD grants

As Mayor of Denver and Governor of Colorado, Hickenlooper has helped put federal grant dollars to use on high priority projects. Without those federal dollars, some of Colorado’s most important infrastructure projects never would have become a reality. The BUILD grant program has become such an in-demand pot of money for local projects that just 5% of applicants received funding in 2017. With an expansion of these grants, more states could receive funding for their most vital projects. Hickenlooper’s plan would include a massive expansion of the program to $5 billion annually.

Stabilizing the Highway Trust Fund

Congress has failed to stabilize funding for the Highway Trust Fund leading to record unmet infrastructure repairs. America has an estimated 47,000 structurally deficient bridges, countless miles of highway in need of repair, and thousands of buses and trains that will soon reach the end of their lifespans. [3] Hickenlooper’s plan will stabilize the trust fund with an additional $200 billion in funding over the next ten years.

Addressing America’s public lands maintenance backlog

Despite national parks having historic numbers of visitors last year, there are nearly $20 billion in deferred maintenance costs across the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Forest Service. Hickenlooper’s plan would include $20 billion in funding to address those deferred needs.

Eliminating lead in water

Nearly 5,000 US water systems that provide service to roughly 18 million people violate the EPA’s rules for lead water concentrations. There is no excuse for Americans to not have safe drinking water. One of the main reasons for this problem is that many municipal lines connecting to homes have not been brought up to federal standards. Under the plan, the federal government would spend $30 billion to remediate and replace these lines so that no community has lead in their drinking water.

Updating and replacing water and sewage treatment systems

Over the next twenty years, municipalities will be facing over $600 billion in costs to replace water and sewage treatment plants. Under the plan, the federal government would set aside $130 billion for these projects including money to expand grant access for individual septic system replacements in rural counties.

Fixing the FAA’s project backlog

Over the next ten years, the Federal Aviation Administration will have a nearly $20 billion budget shortfall for upcoming projects. We will add an additional $20 billion to the FAA’s annual facilities and equipment budget, the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) so that our airports stay efficient and our skies are safe.

Rural broadband

Today’s economy requires reliable broadband access. Too many rural communities are falling behind because their residents do not have access to the internet. In Colorado, Hickenlooper passed a plan to get reliable broadband access to all of Colorado’s 64 counties. As President, he will fund $20 billion for that purpose resulting in near universal access to rural broadband within the continental United States. This will help communities connect into today’s economy and help keep our rural counties open for business. [4]

Repairing America’s public schools

Hickenlooper’s plan will also include $130 billion to meet the infrastructure needs of public schools. The federal government needs to step up and help municipalities and states address the growing crisis of underfunded public schools. Too many students are in classrooms without heat or air conditioning, and local school districts do not have the funds to address these needs.

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