To better coordinate with the mayors and governors who directly account for 90% of the expenditure, the White House sponsored a summit on Thursday to aid in accelerating construction projects connected to the nearly $1 trillion infrastructure package.
The former mayor of New Orleans and infrastructure coordinator for the White House, Mitch Landrieu, remarked, “Something is the first time we’ve tried this in 50 years on this level.”
“We’re going to push it hard to make it move faster and try to do it better and attempt to have at least all the federal agencies focused on speeding the pace of design, building, and permitting,” said the spokesperson.
The conference, which started on Thursday morning, comes at a crucial time for the almost-year-old law as high prices and a shortage of workers and materials threaten to put many projects on hold.
An investment that will leave a lasting legacy is at risk, according to President Joe Biden, who has said that it is the most extensive collection of public works initiatives since the Interstate Highway System was established in the 1950s under Dwight Eisenhower’s administration.
Biden has frequently reassured people leading up to this year’s midterm elections that the government can accomplish its goals if Democrats and Republicans cooperate.
Officials from the administration intend to utilize the summit to pave the way for faster development, which can assist in controlling costs and maximize the return on investment.
The Transportation Department will establish an internal center to give state and local officials the best practices for project design, planning, and construction.
In addition to other initiatives by government organizations and business associations, the Commerce Department will launch a “Dig Once” campaign to prevent construction workers from repeatedly boring holes into roads to install water pipes, broadband connections, and electricity and natural gas lines.
Speaking at the event alongside others like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, Landrieu said, “I just fully expect that the more we work on this, and the better we get, the more money we’re going to save, and the more time we’re going to save.”
Approximately 3,000 individuals were anticipated to attend the summit both in person and online.
It coincided with Biden’s absence from the White House while traveling to Western states.
Michael Hancock, mayor of Denver, will participate in a panel discussion about finishing tasks on schedule.
According to him, supply chain problems, worker shortages, and inflation have all been obstacles that have caused anticipated costs to rise by as much as 30%.
“All those issues are the most critical threat to what we’re trying to do,” Hancock said.
As express lanes are added to a 10-mile section of Interstate 70 that cuts the city in half, Denver is utilizing federal funding to ensure that neighborhoods stay linked.
Hancock was concerned that cutting off the homes on either side of the highway may make it more difficult for kids to get to school.
The project, expected to be finished in 2026, received an additional $14 million in funding from the infrastructure law to maintain neighborhoods.
Hancock claimed that the infrastructure law also provided an “unprecedented” chance to work with women and people of color-run businesses.