It’s the Infrastructure, Stupid

highway night

There’s been almost daily talk about the infrastructure lately. Americans and its politicians can agree, if nothing else, that there’s much to do in this arena what with our crumbling bridges (literally, see Atlanta) and roads (too many to mention), water (see Flint), and dams (see Oroville), and so forth. All of which are badly in need of some major TLC.

The American Society of Civil Engineers grades the U.S. infrastructure every four years and last year we earned yet another D (albeit a D+!). A barely passable grade is not where we want to be consistent, of course.

According to their 2016 report: “The cost of deteriorating infrastructure takes a toll on families’ disposable household income and impacts the quality and quantity of jobs in the U.S. economy…. From 2016 to 2025, each household will lose $3,400 each year in disposable income due to infrastructure deficiencies.”

President Trump’s infrastructure promises are welcome news for everyone. Democrats had hoped that this may be one area for bipartisan cooperation.

After some missteps and Trump’s repeal and replace of Obamacare was stymied, it’s difficult to know which direction he’ll go. His appointee, Elaine Chao as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation promises new plans that may include private investment. The plan would include “a strategic, targeted program of investment valued at $1 trillion over 10 years. The proposal will cover more than transportation infrastructure, it will include energy, water and potentially broadband and veterans hospitals as well.”

While some may look at private investment as free money, others worry that private investment may have hidden costs including reduced environmental regulations and also less or no oversight by the communities it will be affecting.

Currently, there’s lots of talk by the states figuring out how to fund its infrastructure packages.

California just passed a massive tax and fee package to the tune of $52 billion. This transportation tax and fee package will pay for its decaying set of roads, bridges and highways. By raising gas taxes and vehicle fees an additional $5.2 billion per year, it’s hoping to reverse a $123 billion backlog of transportation-related work around the state. For California truckers this translates to an extra $.20/gallon on diesel and diesel sales tax will jump 4%.

President Trump and Transportation Chao promised a $1 trillion plan by the end of the year. Until then, we’ll be waiting with bated breath.

 

Want more infrastructure info? Overdrive Online posted information on a new documentary regarding the U.S. infrastructure. More info on that here.

 

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