Sen. Ossoff continues to lead on infrastructure and clean energy
Bank of America CEO: “A lot of money ready to be invested”
Citigroup CEO: “We will be delighted to work with your office going forward”
Goldman Sachs CEO: “It’s important for us to try to unleash a lot of the private capital that exists or is earmarked toward infrastructure”
JPMorgan Chase CEO: “Infrastructure is critical”
Washington, D.C. — Amidst a major push by Congress and the Biden Administration to upgrade America’s infrastructure, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff today secured commitments from top executives at some of America’s largest banks to work on expanding private investment in infrastructure, transportation, and clean energy.
At today’s hearing of the Senate Committee on Banking featuring top U.S. banking executives, Sen. Ossoff highlighted the necessity of infrastructure upgrades and the importance of attracting private capital to supplement the government’s investments.
In a statement issued after the hearing, Sen. Ossoff said, “To upgrade America’s infrastructure, the major banks need to step up to the plate alongside local and federal governments. Upgrading our quality of life, creating good-paying jobs, and building new transportation and clean energy solutions will require a mix of public and private investment, and I was encouraged by the commitments America’s major financial institutions made at today’s hearing.”
“America having a far stronger infrastructure than it has today will be important both in terms of competitiveness of the country, as well as an important source of jobs and growth going forward,” said Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, in response to Sen. Ossoff in the hearing. “The public-private partnership has been shown to be a very successful one in this area, where the government can step in and provide credits and other areas where there are gaps in a capital structure, or help absorb some of the risks in it, to enable new investors to come in and participate in the investments is going to be a very important area.”
Asked by Sen. Ossoff about private capital investments in infrastructure, David Solomon, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs said, “it’s important for us to try to unleash a lot of the private capital that exists or is earmarked toward infrastructure,” and that “finding ways to collaborate from a public-private partnership perspective has always been a successful path to take.”
Sen. Ossoff continues to be a leader pushing for historic, generational investments in clean energy and infrastructure, securing commitments from the Biden Administration to focus on key projects in Georgia, including expanding MARTA, completing the BeltLine urban redevelopment program, and completing the deepening and expansion of the Port of Savannah.
Earlier this month, Sen. Ossoff secured commitments from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to work with him on several key infrastructure, transit, and transportation projects across Georgia, and hewelcomed Sec. Buttigieg to Atlanta last week to inspect several of them.
Please find a transcript of the exchanges below:
SEN. OSSOFF: “Thank you to our witnesses today. Ms. Fraser, the American Society of Civil Engineers has rated the state of U.S. infrastructure at a C- and estimated that the capital expenditure necessary to close the gap to get to a B level, which they define as, “a state of good repair,” is approximately $2.6 trillion. Now, not all of that investment has to be public investment. So my question for you is twofold. First, do you agree that having state of the art, world class infrastructure in the United States is essential not just to quality of life, but also to economic competitiveness and sustained growth? And how can Congress take action to make it easier for private sector entities with significant capital at their disposal to invest in necessary infrastructure improvements and construction?”
JANE FRASER, CEO OF CITIGROUP: “Thank you very much indeed, Senator. It’s a really important question. Yes, I do agree that America having a far stronger infrastructure than it has today will be important both in terms of competitiveness of the country, as well as an important source of jobs and growth going forward. The public-private partnership has been shown to be a very successful one in this area, where the government can step in and provide credits and other areas where there are gaps in a capital structure, or help absorb some of the risks in it, to enable new investors to come in and participate in the investments is going to be a very important area. And it’s one, I think, I can speak for myself, we will be delighted to work with your office going forward.”
SEN. OSSOFF: “Thank you, Ms. Fraser, and would you similarly commit to working with this committee and my office to explore mechanisms that could make it easier for private capital to support the development of clean energy production capacity here in the United States? I know that your bank has made some significant commitments in terms of emission reduction.”
JANE FRASER, CEO OF CITIGROUP: “Yes, we would be delighted to do so I think the development, as we’ve heard today, of new technologies in sequestration, or in carbon capture and others will be absolutely essential in the transition ahead, we will be delighted to do so.”
SEN. OSSOFF: “Thank you. I look forward to those discussions. Mr. Solomon, I’d like now to turn to you, could you please lend your perspective? What are the impediments and what are the opportunities for improvement to public policy to unlock more private capital for capital investments, improvements, construction of necessary infrastructure in United States?”
DAVID SOLOMON, CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF GOLDMAN SACHS: “I appreciate the question, Senator, and I think that it’s important for us to try to unleash a lot of the private capital that exists or is earmarked toward infrastructure. I think there’s over $200 billion of private capital earmarked for investment in infrastructure in this country. I think that finding ways to collaborate from a public-private partnership perspective has always been a successful path to take. I think there are things that we can do to potentially expand activities by making certain tax-exempt financing easier, potentially for rural broadband, or housing infrastructure more broadly. I think those are areas that would be worth exploring.”
SEN. OSSOFF: “Thank you, Mr. Solomon. I appreciate that. Mr. Dimon, I’d like to offer you the opportunity to respond to the same question, perhaps comment on the statements made by some of your colleagues.”
JAMIE DIMON, CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF JPMORGAN CHASE: “You know, I agree with everything they said. And I would just add that infrastructure is critical, but I would beg you, the Senate, to focus on the output, not the input. There’s too much time spent on how much money we’re gonna spend on stuff. Too little time is spent on who’s responsible, what’s it going to cost, what is it worth, and also, you need to fix regulations. I’ve given this example many times, you go to these examples around the country. To rebuild a broken bridge between New Jersey and Staten Island, it took 10 years to get the 49 permits, which you had to get sequentially. You know, if it’s gonna take 10 years to rebuild a broken bridge, to get those permits, the cost is higher, the risk is higher, private capital will not come in, and so you have to do those things together. And, you know, constantly with outputs, how many bridges, and then you’ll get full support of everybody if we have – if we know it’s going to be effectively spent. This country has spent lots of money completely ineffectively and that would be a very bad idea.”
SEN. OSSOFF: “Thank you, Mr. Dimon. Appreciate that contribution to the discussion. Mr. Moynihan, when we discuss some of the potential investments in infrastructure, for example, transit and transportation, clean energy, the energy grid, can you comment as well, please, on the opportunities and the challenges faced by private capital interested in supporting these vital national efforts?”
BRIAN THOMAS MOYNIHAN, CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF BANK OF AMERICA: “I think my colleagues have outlined a lot of questions and issues, so to speak, there’s just a lot of money ready to be invested. It’ll take some effort on permitting and other types of processes to speed those projects along, but the money is there, and, in fact, it is being invested as we speak. So I think I’d encourage a holistic view of this from the amount of money that the government can help to move projects faster, the amount of money that the private sector has, and importantly, that the atmosphere on getting the project done, which is required to speed these things along.”
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