Aspen Institute Makes Recommendations for Transforming America’s Infrastructure Spending

January 25, 2022

New action guide outlines how INVEST in America Act can serve traditionally under-resourced communities

Contact: Carner Derron
Communications Manager
Aspen Digital
[email protected]

Washington, DC, January 25, 2022––With federal infrastructure support soon flowing to states and localities, it is crucial that this new funding not be spent in old ways. With input from dozens of experts and support from the Siegel Family Endowment, the Aspen Institute has published an action guide outlining 12 ways to transform upcoming infrastructure spending to better serve communities, with a particular focus on those who are traditionally underserved. Developed by the Aspen Digital program, Building the Infrastructure of Tomorrow aims to help policymakers and practitioners seize the moment to make creative and collaborative choices that meet collective infrastructure needs for years to come.

What Washington has typically considered ‘infrastructure’ needs a modern facelift. This radical update means that everything from 5G networks to public transit should be perceived as multidimensional in scope and purpose, where physical infrastructure is built in unison with social and digital. With the passage in November 2021 of the historic INVEST in America Act, state and local decision-makers undoubtedly need a new path forward.

“Operating where technology, media, and the internet meet, our job at Aspen Digital is to seek out modern ways to fulfill human needs in our society,” said Vivian Schiller, Executive Director of Aspen Digital. “Collaborating with the Siegel Family Endowment, we’re building on this legacy in innovation to focus on new ideas that can improve the fundamental building blocks of infrastructure delivery.”

Divided into three categories–mindset, metrics, and money–the new guide makes recommendations for how to create systems that are equitable, dynamic, and built to last.The recommendations include:

  • Adopt governing practices from COVID-19 pilots to break down silos and ease barriers to creative problem-solving.
  • Create and deploy metrics for equity and access. 
  • Allow municipalities to experiment with new revenue schemes.
  • When explaining changing strategies and new investments to the public, localize the language to increase community understanding and buy-in.

In summer 2021, Aspen Digital hosted a series of workshops with representatives from state and local government, advocacy organizations, academia, and civil society to delve into new approaches to selecting, planning, designing, deploying, modernizing, operating, and maintaining our country’s infrastructure resources. These conversations were critical to forming these new recommendations. 

Those interested in the learnings from Building the Infrastructure of Tomorrow are encouraged to visit: https://www.aspeninstitute.org/publications/building-the-infrastructure-of-tomorrow/.

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Aspen Digital empowers policy-makers, civic organizations, companies, and the public to be responsible stewards of technology and media in the service of an informed, just, and equitable world. A program of the Aspen Institute, we shine a light on urgent global issues across cybersecurity, the information ecosystem, emerging technology, the industry talent pipeline, tech and communications policy, and innovation. We then turn ideas to action and develop human solutions to these digital challenges.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

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