Policy Agenda: Infrastructure & Economic Development
Investment in our nation's infrastructure is an investment in America, creating tremendous opportunities for small businesses. More than 56,000 of our country's bridges are structurally deficient, one of every five miles of America’s roads are in poor condition and much of rural America lacks crucial access to broadband technology. Investing in our infrastructure supports access to customers and suppliers, enhances business operations and creates demand for the goods and services small businesses have to sell. Not only do small businesses anchor the supply chain for infrastructure initiatives themselves, they run the hotels, coffee shops, restaurants and other businesses that serve the people working on these projects. What's more, infrastructure investments like broadband support the growth of a vibrant freelance and entrepreneurial economy that relies on the Internet for access to markets, customers and services to support operations.
Our polling shows more than three-quarters of small business owners oppose reductions in government infrastructure funding. Investing in infrastructure will be much more beneficial to small businesses than the recent tax cuts that primarily help large corporations and wealthy individuals. As such, we must have a national infrastructure investment strategy that includes:
- Ensuring federal support for infrastructure projects that directly benefit small business commercial enterprises.
- Enacting legislation to counteract recent actions by the FCC that threaten net neutrality. Without a fair and open Internet, small businesses will be put at a disadvantage when trying to compete with larger corporations that have the resources to ensure their websites receive special prioritization from their Internet service providers.
- Passing the Community Broadband Act, which seeks to help local towns set up public alternatives to big Internet providers such as Comcast or Verizon.
- Supporting legislation like the Small Business Cyber Training Act of 2017, which will create an SBA program to provide resources and training for small businesses to improve cybersecurity.
- Expanding access to shared workspaces, accelerators and incubators that provide the physical and operational infrastructure for entrepreneurs to start and grow new businesses.
- Creating a sustainable infrastructure financing entity to drive continued investment from the public and private sectors into the nation’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
- Address long-term solvency issues for the Highway Trust Fund.
- Strengthening investments by federal agencies to spur growth and support small businesses that are key players in the clean energy economy’s supply chain through economic clusters and other related programs.
- Promoting supply chain diversity as part of any comprehensive infrastructure proposal to ensure small businesses, especially those in rural and underserved communities, are able to participate in infrastructure investments.