The infrastructure law supports bold action. Now let’s get to work.

By: Barbara Humpton, President and CEO, Siemens USA

Editor's Note: This post was published November 15, 2021, the day that the bipartisan infrastructure deal was signed into law.

 

For years there’s been discussion about America’s “crumbling” infrastructure and what to do about it. The question has always been: What if…?

 

What if we invested boldly enough at the federal level to enable state and local governments to work with the private sector to do more than maintain our inherited infrastructure? What if we could also build for a changing tomorrow? What if we really invested in the next century of American growth and leadership?

 

Our opportunity to discover the answer to these questions begins today as President Biden signs the bipartisan infrastructure bill into law. This is a historic moment in America – one that sets the stage for decarbonizing the economy, boosting U.S. manufacturing, creating jobs, and increasing equity. And we extend our congratulations to the Biden-Harris Administration and applaud the bipartisan process in Congress that brought this bill to life.

As I head to the White House today for the signing ceremony, it has me reflecting on the past year and a half and what’s now possible in the future.

 

In some ways, our focus at the very beginning of the pandemic continues to apply. Then as now, we stand ready to support national priorities through our work serving the critical infrastructure and industries that form the backbone of America’s economy.

 

Early on, that work involved keeping Americans connected to vital services, from healthcare to power to transportation. We leveraged our technologies to help manufacturers retool their production lines for critical supplies. We partnered with local leaders to get temporary hospitals up and running in record time.

 

We didn’t slow down as the hard work began of reopening America. We found ways to deploy our smart building technologies to create safer and healthier schools and offices. We embraced the idea that we wouldn’t be returning to the way things were. We would be going forward.

 

The world had changed. We had changed. And out of this change and disruption comes the opportunity to shape the future we want. It’s a spirit I also felt last week at COP26, the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, as the United States and China agreed to work together to accelerate climate action.

 

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said of the agreement, “The key to Glasgow is not the words here. It’s the promises and the goals that have been made and the implementation. And we’re going to become an implementation force in the aftermath of this meeting.”

 

The broad vision for infrastructure going into law today will make that implementation force more powerful. This vision recognizes that our task is greater than repairing roads and bridges if we want to build for a changing tomorrow. We’ll need to invest boldly, unleash U.S. innovation and activate ecosystems across rail, electric vehicle infrastructure, the grid, and America’s workforce to serve our needs today and anticipate the needs of future generations.

 

If we dare to reimagine our infrastructure, we can shape a more resilient, more sustainable and more equitable future. And at Siemens, we’re ramping up our own capabilities to support this transformation.

 

A perfect example is our manufacturing of EV charging infrastructure in Wendell, North Carolina, where we’ve expanded our operations in the U.S. to meet growing demand. We’ve committed to building one million chargers over the next four years, and we’ve launched a new training and apprenticeship program to prepare the workforce for these skilled jobs electrifying mobility.

 

We know that greening the transportation sector will be key to lowering carbon dioxide emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change. But Americans aren’t likely to drive EVs without the confidence that they’ll be able to charge their car whenever and wherever. We need to scale up chargers and scale up fast, something that the law encourages with its framework for a nationwide EV charging network. 

 

We’re looking forward to putting cleaner and more comfortable trains on America’s rail lines, as we see the law’s expansion of passenger rail and public transit as a big opportunity to create more efficient transportation systems. But the value doesn’t stop there. The returns truly multiply when you think about the potential for rail to reconnect neighborhoods and open up new doors for residents who haven’t been served by quality infrastructure in the past. So let’s see rail projects as investments in building more inclusive communities – for driving equity and economic growth that goes well beyond the tracks.

 

We’re looking forward to modernizing the power grid and transforming America’s buildings with a focus on sustainability and resilience. By making grid upgrades a national priority, the policies enacted today will accelerate our transition to a clean energy future while building the resiliency that communities need right now. We’ll need the grid to be smarter, but we’ll also need it to be stronger as the demand for power increases and we continue to face shocks like extreme weather and wildfires. The integration of renewable power, the implementation of digital tools and the deployment of microgrids will equip the grid to rise to these challenges.  

 

Across all projects, we look forward to making our infrastructure smart enough to evolve digitally like we have in our personal lives, connecting the physical world we helped to create and using data to optimize it. And what prepares us more than anything else? It’s our people, our footprint, and our networks. It’s our partnerships across America developed throughout our more than 160-plus years as a national asset supporting American industry and infrastructure.

 

That means being a trusted partner to transportation operators, utilities, airports, schools, hospitals, businesses, industries, and to state and local governments. But it also means being able to build things in America and help train the workforce as we connect people to high-paying jobs and potentially even new careers generated by bold infrastructure investment.

 

Nationwide, Siemens has 26 manufacturing sites, more than 40,000 employees, and over 24,000 suppliers. When we build a train at our rail plant in Sacramento, we activate 2,000 suppliers across 40 states. We’re eager to tap into and expand those networks.

 

Our teams continue to deliver for customers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, working with more than 100 U.S. cities. We’re a technology provider to Amtrak and to 35 of the nation’s transit agencies. We’re supporting 90 percent of Fortune 500 industrial companies while helping thousands of customers connect to the industrial Internet of Things and build apps 10 times faster using our low-code platform – all supported by a global ecosystem of 1,200 cybersecurity professionals.

 

We’re also more than halfway towards our goal of a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030, a commitment that has only increased our ability to execute complex projects – from more agile and productive factories, to more intelligent and resilient buildings and grids, to more reliable and sustainable transportation.  

 

As we look to the work ahead, let’s continue accelerating the adoption of emerging technologies to further U.S. innovation. Let’s inspire a new generation of workers in industry and infrastructure. And let’s reinvent our supply chain to support our economy and national preparedness.

 

This law provides us with a strong foundation to shape the future we want.

 

Now, let’s get to work.

Published: November 15, 2021