Sunday, October 26

Infrastructure News From Last Week

Wow. It doesn't look like the infrastructure report card of a nation that takes it seriously, does it? Fortunately, people are talking about it now. Politicians, economists, and the media are picking up on the dangerous failings of our infrastructure. There is even a proposition in California - Prop 1A - that finally allows the voters to decide whether or not we should have high-speed rail line service. Finally. Yep, people are talking. Hopefully, that talk will turn into some much needed action soon. As you can see, we are dangerously overdue.

NewsHour: Ray Suarez interviews PennDOT engineer Charles Davies about bridge repair.

Washington Independent: Taxpayers will remember that the first round of stimulus efforts came in the form of direct-to-the-door rebate checks — $600 for individuals and $1,200 for married couples. This time around, lawmakers are focusing on infrastructure projects, social services like unemployment insurance and direct aid to states, many of which are struggling with budget deficits. There’s even an emerging effort to have green-energy investment a central focus of the bill.

The $600 rebate checks provided by the federal stimulus package earlier this year may have been popular among taxpayers, but many economists think any future effort should focus on infrastructure spending and other targeted measures.
Spending on new roads, bridges and other public works projects would create jobs and provide more of a lasting boost to the economy than another round of rebate checks, several economists said. They contend a common concern about infrastructure spending - that it takes time to gear up and may not kick in until after the recession is over - is less compelling now because the U.S. economy likely will experience an extended downturn.

Mother Jones: McCain hasn't bought into this because (I'd guess) he still doesn't really appreciate the scope of our financial problems. Plus he probably associates infrastructure projects with earmarks, so he has a Pavlovian reaction against them. Obama has done a little better, but only a little. It would be smart, both politically and substantively, for him to at least start making more aggressive noises on a big, bold infrastructure plan.

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