By recently introducing a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, the Biden administration is putting the spotlight on a critical challenge facing the country: Old infrastructure is costing the U.S. billions and eroding our ability to compete.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg talked about the administration’s plan with Bechtel Chairman and CEO Brendan Bechtel, who also serves as chair of the Business Roundtable’s Infrastructure Committee. Their conversation is part of United for Infrastructure 2021: A Week to Champion America’s Infrastructure. From May 10-14, United for Infrastructure is convening leaders to highlight the critical role infrastructure plays in our daily lives, economy, jobs, public health, and national security.

“There’s an enormous need here and with that comes an enormous opportunity,” said Buttigieg. “If we get this right everybody is going to be better off. This is about making sure that America wins the era that we’re living in.”

In a departure from some past infrastructure plans, Buttigieg said this isn’t just focused on “shovel ready” projects that offer quick wins. “There’s no shortage of things in the pipeline that can happen as soon as the funding is cleared. “But I want to make clear this vision is not just about stimulus. This vision is about positioning America for long-term competitiveness.”  

As a result, he said. “we’re very excited about what we call ‘shovel worthy’ projects” – a moniker that refers to those projects that can deliver the greatest benefits in the long run, but require more up front planning and development to get right. Brendan applauded this focus on high impact projects. 

Brendan and Buttigieg both emphasized the need for collaboration on this challenge. Buttigieg expressed optimism about the path forward, calling now “a season for creativity and partnership.”

Click here to listen to the entire conversation.

The Business Roundtable is a sponsor of United for Infrastructure, which works to educate the public and policymakers about the importance of infrastructure to the U.S. economy, workers, and communities to ensure that the nation’s infrastructure meets the needs of every American – both now and for future generations. Visit UnitedForInfrastructure.org to learn more.