Business Leaders Call for Infrastructure Investment to Jump Start the COVID-19 Economy

Staff Report

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

The Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED) calls for policymakers and businesses to work together to put an emphasis on infrastructure spending now in order to kick start the US economy in the face of the COVID-19 related downturn.

As detailed in a new Solutions Briefs the COVID-19 crisis has made US infrastructure deficits an even more pressing 2020 issue in addressing slowdowns in the economy. An efficient investment in cutting-edge infrastructure connects businesses and workers to more opportunities, advances the capabilities for remote work, education, and e-commerce, increases productivity and fuels American competitiveness – the critical components for putting our economy back on solid footing, as the Solutions Brief, Today's Infrastructure Improvements Will Drive Tomorrow's Economy highlights.  Among other things, this will require reducing regulatory burdens, enabling state and local communities maximum flexibility in financing projects and fostering public-private sector partnerships.

"As we face this crisis, we need world-leading infrastructure to facilitate the global competitiveness of US businesses and create opportunities for all Americans to prosper," said Lori Esposito Murray, CED President. "A bold commitment to infrastructure investment now will super-charge the US economy and help us pull ourselves out of this downturn."

CED offers the following policy recommendations to advance the nation's infrastructure goals:

  • Improve infrastructure planning and decision-making by prioritizing broader societal needs over narrow parochial interests.
  • Encourage innovation by creating the flexibility for businesses to fully take advantage of breakthroughs in science and technology.
  • Break down state and local funding silos and increase autonomy to respond to a community's or region's particular needs.
  • Remove regulatory burdens to eliminate duplication and maximize the public benefit.
  • Prioritize private-sector involvement through greater use of public-private partnerships.
  • Explore alternative approaches to leverage private investment resources.
  • Move toward user fees to allocate the cost of operating infrastructure to the people who most directly benefit from it.
  • Incorporate climate risk into evaluations of potential infrastructure investments.