Recognizing the importance of developing innovative methods for improving the environmental and social efficacy of our infrastructure, shelters, buildings, neighborhoods, and cities, the Clinton Global Initiative has been working with its members and key stakeholders from the government, organized labor, and private sectors to drive further investment into public, job-creating infrastructure improvements. Last week, President Bill Clinton visited Washington, D.C. to celebrate progress already made and encourage further work to improve our built environment.
First, President Clinton participated in a ceremony celebrating ongoing progress on a landmark CGI America Commitment to Action made in 2011 by the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a broad coalition of public sector unions, the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, and the Center for American Progress to encourage the investment of over $10 billion into the reconstruction of America's built environment. The commitment has reached more than $2.7 billion in progress since its announcement. A part of this commitment was to conduct an extensive energy efficient retrofitting of its own headquarters; and, on Thursday, President Clinton, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, and AFT President Randi Weingarten officially kicked off the retrofit, managed by McKinstry, a nationally recognized energy services corporation. By replacing and upgrading the existing windows and deploying a new lighting system, the retrofit will allow the AFL-CIO to operate the building and its utilities more efficiently.
On Friday, President Bill Clinton, Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors hosted the first meeting of the Infrastructure Financing for Cities (IFC) Task Force at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Center for American Progress. The IFC Task Force includes 17 mayors with a combined constituency of more than 17 million people who have come together to explore solutions to current obstacles facing public infrastructure investment; look at existing models of leveraging private capital to finance projects such as road and water system improvements; and deliberate innovative investment models such as the creation of an urban infrastructure bank. Leading mayors from across the United States came together for a full-day working meeting with business leaders, labor leaders, and national experts to share best practices and identify concrete, collaborative approaches to advance critical public infrastructure projects in American cities.
In the morning, the mayors met with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, President of the Rockefeller Foundation Dr. Judith Rodin, Dr. Laura Tyson, Peter Orszag, and North America Chairman of Meridiam Infrastructure Jane Garvey for substantive, deep-dive conversations about how to leverage federal, state, local, and private resources to creatively address the need for investments in infrastructure, with the objective of rebuilding our cities and creating jobs.
The mayors worked throughout the day to address specific project needs in working sessions, including one led by the Center for American Progress that focused on high-impact federal and local partnership. Another session, held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was led by Lois Scott, Chief Financial Officer for the City of Chicago, and former Governor of Puerto Rico Luis Fortuno. Scott and Fortuno, along with the mayors, worked on how to create structures to get infrastructure projects done at scale, looking at the Chicago Infrastructure Trust and the Puerto Rico Public Private Partnership Authority as examples. The last afternoon session was a workshop in which mayors and their representatives worked directly with Peter Orszag, Rodney Slater, and Peter Raymond to develop real solutions for specific projects.
The Task Force explored creating guiding principles for both government and private sector leaders to use as they make serious commitments to invest in infrastructure projects. The discussion also focused on the needs of communities and the ability for cities to provide excellent public service and improved efficiency as part of financing decisions for infrastructure projects. Cities, companies, and organized labor decided to use CGI's unique commitment platform to advance specific projects, accelerate big ideas, and collaborate on innovative approaches. In the lead up to the 2013 CGI America Meeting, to be held June 13-14 in Chicago, the IFC Task Force will continue to discuss how to best move forward in communities across the United States.