Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Encourages AMPP Members to Get Involved

In Monday’s keynote speech at the Lila Cockrell Theater, former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood analyzed the current state of infrastructure across the United States and how the 2021 U.S. Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA) will affect the corrosion and protective coatings sector. LaHood also shared his insights into how AMPP members can shape and influence existing policies and sustainability initiatives.

The keynote began with an introductory address from AMPP CEO Bob Chalker in which he summarized the association’s accomplishments over the past year. LaHood then took the stage to tout the virtues of the IIJA. According to LaHood, the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill was not only the largest in U.S. history, but also received strong bipartisan support—a rarity in these politically divisive times. “There are no Republican bridges, no Democrat roads—they belong to the American people,” said LaHood.

LaHood also encouraged the audience to get involved in their regional planning commissions to determine which infrastructure is most in need of repair. By doing so, said LaHood, “when decisions are made about how this trillion should be spent over the next five years, boom, you’re in the room.” He also highlighted the important role played by AMPP members in developing new, sustainable technologies and materials that would be used to replace or rebuild aging infrastructure built nearly a century ago, which has since fallen into disrepair.

Following the presentation, a Q&A was held between LaHood, Chalker, and AMPP Chair Sam Scaturro in which the AMPP leaders posed questions to the former Secretary. LaHood emphasized that one of the key benefits of the IIJA is that there are “no boondoggles, no earmarks, and no special favors” in the bill, which further servers to underline how beneficial the bill will be to a majority of Americans.

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