Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) delivered a keynote address to the City Club of Chicago this week, stressing both the need to invest in America’s infrastructure, and to put forth a new national security platform, stating that America’s dominance on the world stage is contingent on re-framing how we think about military strength and rejecting the false choice between investing in our defense and investing in domestic priorities like healthcare and education,per a recent press release.
Senator Duckworth said there is a “dire need to modernize our infrastructure before it is too late. This is not a partisan issue. It’s a commonsense economic priority and a national security imperative. Already, the sad state of our infrastructure is weighing down our economy. Research shows that we lose $200 billion a year from inefficient rail transportation, and we lost $305 billion in 2017 alone due to traffic congestion. Meanwhile, under-investment in the sector has cost our nation 900,000 jobs.” So this much is clear: In an era of bitter partisan divides, we have to seize onto the issues that both sides of the aisle can agree to.”
Duckworth stressed that “We will risk falling behind our global competitors and being unable to compete in the modern economy.” ‘Every dollar invested in transportation infrastructure returns three-fold in economic impact. Every new project will create countless jobs. And we’re not just talking about construction work that is short-term, but long-term jobs too, operating and maintaining this infrastructure-jobs from water treatment operators to bus drivers to telecom line installers. Good-paying work that often doesn’t require a college degree, with low barriers to entry and wages sometimes 30% higher than the relevant average.”
Nationwide, more than 14 million workers hold infrastructure-related jobs today, which is roughly 11% of the total workforce.