The nonpartisan Campaign for Common Good called on President Joe Biden and congressional leaders to create a National Infrastructure Board to prioritize projects for funding. America received a C- grade on its infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Even as President Biden and congressional leaders work on a major infrastructure funding bill, there is no mechanism to prioritize projects or streamline permitting.
Philip K. Howard, chair of the Campaign for Common Good, issued the following statement:
“America’s C- grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers reflects both the decrepit state of American infrastructure and the fact that it has only slightly improved from the D or D+ that ASCE has issued since 1998. That stark reality underscores the need for a National Infrastructure Board to prioritize projects for funding, based on their importance, and to streamline the process so that they can begin construction promptly.
“For years, political leaders have said that they are committed to fixing America’s infrastructure, but nothing happens. Even when funding is provided, projects are often not ready for construction or become ensnared as bargaining chips in political gamesmanship. What is needed is a credible bipartisan body, similar to base-closing commissions, that can set priorities as well as expedite approvals. Australia, Britain, and Canada all have such bodies. Why is the United States lagging here as well?
“A National Infrastructure Board should deal with three unique challenges for modernizing infrastructure: set priorities, streamline permitting, and avoid waste in infrastructure contracts. Prioritizing projects is essential, but that alone does not advance construction. Streamlined permitting — with clear lines of authority to provide effective timely review — must become law, not just the focus of executive orders. In addition, while most public infrastructure projects with federal funding are managed by state and local government agencies, there has been almost no meaningful federal oversight for how wisely the money is spent. A National Infrastructure Board should, therefore, be charged with setting procurement guidelines and enforcing them with audits.”
The Campaign for Common Good is a nonpartisan initiative to overhaul legacy bureaucracies so that government can deliver results without stifling human initiative. The campaign proposes a clear operating vision focused on goals, not red tape. This vision, like that of the framers, is built upon the firm foundation of individual responsibility and clear lines of accountability.
The organization launched in 2020 with a petition calling for “spring cleaning commissions” to recommend simplified codes to replace the bureaucratic tangle that has grown over the last 50 years and now paralyzes choices throughout society. The petition was signed by 100 prominent citizens, led by Mitch Daniels, Bill Bradley, Al Simpson, and experts in different fields. For more information, visit www.commongood.org.