This morning in a Rose Garden address President Obama called for Congress to pass an extension of the surface transportation and aviation programs which are critical to the daily transportation needs of manufacturers. Manufacturers welcome President Obama’s engagement and call for Congress to pass a bipartisan reauthorization which expires on September 30, as well as an extension of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization which expires on September 16.  These critical national infrastructure programs require certainty and adequate funding levels to ensure the safety of the public, economic growth and jobs. 

Temporary extensions are not a long-term substitute; the Administration and Congress still need to act on a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization at robust funding levels and a multi-year reauthorization of our civil aviation programs.

The President’s announcement that federal agencies will be tasked to expedite environmental and permitting reviews of high-priority infrastructure projects that will create and sustain jobs now was a welcome first step.  Rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure will require additional and fundamental policy changes in how we finance, permit, build and manage our investments.  Manufacturers expect a bipartisan approach to these issues that will deliver results. 

As our international competitors continue to ramp up investments in transportation infrastructure from modernizing air traffic control systems to expanding highway and transit capacity to accommodate growth, the House and Senate in the coming months must fully embrace these important domestic initiatives that Americans require to keep manufacturers competitive and our economy moving.  Manufacturers grow when the country adopts meaningful policies that support economic growth and expansion.  

Rosario Palmieri is vice president for infrastructure, legal and regulatory policy.