May 01, 2019

New Dems Launch Infrastructure Listening Tour Across America

Across the country, our transportation infrastructure is in dire need of modernization. As one of the most immediate ways Americans interact with their government on a daily basis, the health of our roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, and airports is key to serving the public well. In order to grow our economy, keep Americans safe, and build stronger communities, we need to work across the aisle to rebuild, repair, and expand our nation’s infrastructure.

In building on the Coalition’s work from last Congress and formulating our infrastructure priorities for this Congress, the New Democrat Coalition Infrastructure Task Force has launched a listening tour around the country. New Dem Infrastructure Task Force Co-Chair Stacey Plaskett (USVI) kicked off the tour with Rep. Colin Allred (TX-32) in Dallas, TX, and Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-01) in Charleston, SC. The tour featured a series of town halls, roundtables with experts and stakeholders, and tours of critical infrastructure sites.

As Congressman Allred said in his town hall, “Nobody cares what party you’re in when you’re sitting in traffic.” Investing in our infrastructure is more than just good politics, it’s good economics. Supporting the movement of people and goods on our nation’s roads, bridges, ports, and airports is crucial to driving investment in our communities.

Reps. Colin Allred and Stacey Plaskett host an infrastructure town hall in Dallas, TX.

Learning about airport infrastructure and the needs of the rapidly growing DFW area with Rep. Allred

Reps. Stacey Plaskett and Colin Allred toured the Dallas Forth Worth (DFW) airport. As one of the busiest airports in the country, it has been a leader on passenger-focused optimizations, carbon neutrality, and strategic partnerships with other entities, such as the Transportation Security AdministrationU.S. Customs and Border ProtectionFederal Aviation Administration, as well as the airlines, to make airport travel more secure, enjoyable, and efficient.

Reps. Stacey Plaskett and Colin Allred tour the command and control center and Air Traffic Control Tower at the DFW airport.

The Members were joined by NDC Member Rep. Marc Veasey from the neighboring district for a roundtable with business leaders to discuss aviation and local infrastructure needs. Following the roundtable, Reps. Allred and Plaskett held a public town hall on infrastructure. The Dallas area is growing rapidly, which has come with economic opportunity for many, as well as severe congestion and infrastructure needs. Business leaders and residents discussed the need for stable funding for infrastructure, the opportunity for responsible public private partnerships, urgency to address climate change and expand alternative transportation (like bikes and “last mile” transportation), and ways to drive trade and commerce in the region through projects like the Houston-Dallas high speed rail.

Reps. Marc Veasey, Stacey Plaslett, and Colin Allred host a business leaders roundtable in Dallas, TX.

Learning about port infrastructure and climate change resilience of the Charleston, SC area with Rep. Cunningham

In Charleston, SC, Rep. Joe Cunningham hosted NDC Infrastructure Task Force Co-Chair Rep. Stacey Plaskett and kicked the tour off with a visit with the CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. The Members got a bird’s eye view of infrastructure when climbing 165 ft above the ground to the tip of the boom of a crane as it loaded cargo onto a ship.

Rep. Joe Cunningham touring a crane at a port in Charleston, SC.

Charleston is one of the top ten busiest and fastest growing ports in the country, as more countries look to expand trade with the East Coast. Meeting that growth means expanding port terminals and the surrounding infrastructure to support the movement of goods. There’s a clear need for, and challenge in, getting federal funding to support the port’s growth.

Members then saw the result of sites flooded from rising sea levels due to the last hurricane during a tour of a new storm drain site and battery with the Mayor of Charleston. The mayor, other city officials, and stakeholders discussed the need for serious action to combat climate change and build resilient infrastructure that can handle extreme flooding.

Reps. Stacey Plaskett and Joe Cunningham discuss infrastructure needs with the President & CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority Jim Newsome.

Through the listening tour, the New Democrat Coalition Infrastructure Task Force has started collecting priorities of constituents and regions across our country. Co-Chaired by Reps. Stacey Plaskett, Salud Carbajal, Elissa Slotkin, and Jason Crow, the Infrastructure Task Force will build policy proposals taken from these and other discussions to better advocate for the priorities of Americans across the nation as Congress develops an infrastructure package.


By:  New Democrat Coalition


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