“…as China is building modern infrastructure, we are looking to build our own Great Wall.” So writes Sheila Bair, former chair of the FDIC and author of the best seller, Bull by the Horns. That our Congress is intent upon walling immigrants out rather than building a transportation and grid structure that would invite tourists and investors in is of concern to her. (“A Bold Plan for Rebuilding Our Roads and Bridges,” by Sheila Bair, Fortune, 7/22/13, pg. 14)
As she points out, a billion in infrastructure spending would create more than 20,000 good paying jobs and restore 1 in 9 bridges in our country that are deficient. What’s more the means to do so is painless. She suggests we create a National Infrastructure Bank to support projects approved by a team of engineers. The money to pay for those projects would be raised with an energy tax. To do so now, while the cost of government borrowing is low, Bair points out, should give Congress an incentive to act.
So why does Congress seem paralyzed when compared to our major nation-competitors? We stand 25th among them in reliable infrastructure. One reason, Bair suggests, is that Congress has no wish to divert money from pork belly projects that get representatives reelected in their districts as opposed to serving the national interest.
When I served in public office, our county bridges were always being repaired. To rebuild would have depleted our local budget and still not have been enough to fix the problem. So maintaining them was the best we could do, hoping that the State and Federal Governments, agencies that benefit most from these interstate thoroughfares, would take action. So for they’ve done little. I guess a lot of people will have to die before anyone pays attention.
(Courtesy of blog.lib.uma.edu)