If we’re to have any hope of improving America’s crumbling infrastructure – which was recently given a D+ grade by the American Society of Civil Engineers – then we need clear and predictable regulations for infrastructure construction. Nowhere is this more important than in our energy sector, where billions of dollars of private investments are poured into improving and expanding the mechanisms that let us flip a switch and light up a room, or turn a knob to heat our homes in the winter.
Volatile regulatory standards lead to wasted money from private investors, and force delays or cancellations of major infrastructure projects. As a result of shifting regulations and requirements, the TransCanada company recently announced that they are terminating their Energy East and Eastern Mainline projects. On top of the incredible sum of money invested already, thousands of jobs will not be created, and our energy infrastructure will miss out on an improvement vital to utilizing our vast natural resources.
This is just another instance of changing regulatory circumstances harming private companies. Under the Obama administration, uncertain regulatory reviews dragged out private investments in our infrastructure nearly to a breaking point. After months of continued doubt, President Obama eventually rejected the Keystone XL pipeline. On top of that, regulatory uncertainty resulted in staggering delays for the Dakota Access Pipeline – which created roughly 12,000 jobs and brought hundreds of millions of dollars to state and local economies. In both instances, these spinning regulatory expectations harmed private companies and American workers.
Private investment is necessary to the future of American infrastructure, but without predictability we cannot expect companies to invest billions of dollars in these projects. We simply cannot expect such large amounts of money to be put to public use without clear, consistent standards. Billions of dollars of investments in infrastructure that will improve lives across the country shouldn’t be held up because regulations change. To move forward and improve our infrastructure, private companies need predictable, known regulations. Anything else is simply unfair and unsustainable.