Guest on The Infra Blog: Ed Mortimer, Executive Director of Transportation Infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Infrastructure USA — By Steve Anderson — November 3rd, 2016 —

Ed Mortimer is executive director of Transportation Infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Mortimer oversees the development and implementation of the Chamber’s transportation and infrastructure policy and represents the Chamber on Capitol Hill as well as before the administration and other industry organizations in regards to this issue area. Mortimer also leads the Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) Coalition as its executive director.

Mortimer comes to the Chamber from AECOM, where he served as director of Government Relations, and was responsible for coordinating government affairs efforts with the company’s infrastructure market segment, representing AECOM’s interests before federal, state and local officials. Prior to this role, Mortimer was the director of Transportation and Infrastructure as the U.S. Chamber. Mortimer also previously served as director of Government Relations for the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) and as a legislative representative for the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

Election 2016: Infra Is in the Spotlight

I think it’s the first time in recent history that we’ve seen two presidential candidates talk about the infrastructure needs and willingness to address the infrastructure funding deficit…So we really feel like the public is starting to get more engaged, starting to understand that we do have infrastructure needs around the country and are willing to come to the table to have serious discussions to figure out how to solve these problems.

Our Country Needs to Repair the Roof

I think one of the reasons we found ourselves in this situation is that our political leaders love ribbon cuttings, and it’s not sexy to maintain things. Just like when you own a home, everybody wants that nice, new kitchen, but nobody wants to pay for the roof. Without the roof it doesn’t matter how nice your kitchen is, your house isn’t going to work…The longer we delay making these types of decisions, the costs are just going to go up even higher. So from the business community’s perspective, we’d rather deal with this problem now than delay it, because it’s going to be the business community that ends up paying more down the road.

Progress Toward Real Systemic Change

We believe that these projects need to be transparent and open. There needs to be an accountability, so if they make an investment in a project, they say it’s going to be done a certain time, there needs to be an accountability if it’s not. We believe at the federal level, between MAP-21 and the FAST Act, which were the last two authorization bills, that Congress has really brought focus to that. These bills aren’t earmarked anymore. I think we’ve made a lot of progress in this area. We’ve got to continue to build on it, but again I think we’re definitely trending in the right direction.

*Audio available by clicking here.

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