Decades of underfunding our infrastructure, of relying upon patchwork and reactive approaches, has slammed into reality.
Our nation faces unprecedented extreme weather events and other challenges from coast to coast that threaten our well-being.
Thus far, Congress’ response has been inadequate. Where the need for new infrastructure investment is $5 trillion or more, the Senate’s “Infrastructure and Jobs Act” proposes just $550 billion of new spending.
While we support this, it lands far short of the need.
We, the undersigned, are rallying our citizens to demand that Congress respond to this crisis in a way that is appropriate: The establishment of a large, $5 trillion National Infrastructure Bank (NIB), as outlined in HR 3339, which is before the current session of Congress.
This $5 trillion public bank does not rely upon the appropriations process. It does not require new federal taxes and will not increase our deficit.
By repurposing existing Treasury debt, as was done previously in U.S. history, it will finance the indispensable projects that are urgently needed.
Infrastructure requires concerted federal action. Throughout our history, presidents have deployed similar banks to build public works.
Washington built the early canals, roads and bridges; John Quincy Adams sponsored a network of canals and the early railroads, and Lincoln used national banking to build the Transcontinental Railroad and a vast industrial expansion. Today we need large water projects like those built by Franklin Roosevelt.
The infrastructure needs of New Mexico are daunting. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, some of the urgent problems include:
30 percent of New Mexico roads are in poor condition that damages cars;
6.5 percent of our bridges are structurally deficient;
219 dams are rated high hazard potential;
The cost to bring drinking water systems to a state of good repair is over $1.4 billion;
20 percent of New Mexico’s students lack internet service at home, and 8 percent don’t have a computer;
New Mexico needs large water projects to bring fresh water into the state to address the drought; and
The power grid in New Mexico must be expanded and upgraded to assimilate electricity produced by renewables and other sources.
Only the National Infrastructure Bank can address this staggering need. It will create millions of new jobs, pay Davis-Bacon wages and mandate Buy American policies.
We are losing the infrastructure race to China. The Chinese spend 8 percent of their gross domestic product on infrastructure; Europe 5 percent and the U.S., barely 2 percent. Is it any wonder that U.S. infrastructure is ranked 13th in the world?
Resolutions of endorsement have been pouring in from state legislatures, city and county councils, and labor and business organizations. A resolution was introduced during the 2021 session (SM2).
New Mexico endorsements include: New Mexico LULAC, Central New Mexico Central Labor Council, the Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity, Rio Arriba County Board of Commissioners and others.
New Mexicans want to improve our quality of life!
We urge everyone to support HR 3339. Contact your Congressional representative to enlist their sponsorship of this measure.
Ada Lee, Democratic Party activist, Rio Rancho
Linda Chavez, Democratic Party activist, Rio Rancho
Dennis Montoya, Board of Directors and past State Director, LULAC New Mexico; Rio Rancho
Sen. Bill Tallman, District 18, Albuquerque
Sen. Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales, District 6, Taos
Sen. Harold Pope, District 23, Albuquerque
Sen. Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics, Chair Senate Conservation Committee, District 39, Los Cerrillos
Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, District 12, Chair Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee, Albuquerque
Sen. Linda Lopez, District 11, Majority Whip, Albuquerque
Sen. Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez, District 16, Albuquerque
Rep. Joy Garratt, District 29, Albuquerque
Rep Gail Chasey, District 18, Chair House Judiciary Committee, Albuquerque
Rep. Christine Chandler, District 43, Los Alamos
Rep. Elizabeth Thomson, District 24, Chair House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee, Albuquerque
Fred Baca, State Director, LULAC New Mexico, Silver City
Mark Strand, President Central New Mexico Central Labor Council; Albuquerque
Angela Merkert, Executive Director, Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity (New Mexico), Albuquerque
Sarah Manning, Outreach Coordinator, Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity, Albuquerque
Josie Marrujo, Past President AFGE Local 4041; Founding member AFGE Hispanic Coalition; President, LULAC Council 8057; Albuquerque
Dr. Pablo Vigil, Board of Directors, New Mexico Hispanic Medical Association, Las Vegas
Letter to the Observer: Infrastructure requires concerted federal action