BNSF Railway Executive Chairman Matt Rose on America’s Infrastructure

So, if you think about infrastructure its really comes in two
buckets. One is how people move around our country. But as
important is how our commerce moves. So, it’s really all about our customers and it’s about again
the jobs, the competitiveness of our American workforce. I like to describe infrastructure as a “weapon of mass
competitiveness”. Think about the American worker that goes to a factory,
produces something in the middle of the country. As our supply chains get more efficient, they are move
competitive in their overall jobs. As our supply chains fill up they become less competitive. So, when we move so much of our product out of this country,
global trade accounts for about 30 to 40 percent of our total GDP, having really efficient supply chains, which means having really
good infrastructure, is really critically important. Project permitting has really become an issue over the last decade.
Other countries around the world have figured out how to do this. They put shot clocks on their permitting process. If our country really does want to first pay for infrastructure and
then two actually build it we are going to have to have project
permitting reforms. So, historically infrastructure policy has always been very bipartisan. My advice to policymakers is to understand the great gift
that our parents and our grandparents gave us in terms of
infrastructure. The highway system, the port system, the
railroad system, the grid system. And yet that has done in a time where we probably had
100 million people fewer living in this country than we have today, and it’s really just the fundamental obligation of federal policy
and state policy to renew that infrastructure and to expand
it given population growth that we see today.

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