SOMETHING needs to be done about America’s aging infrastructure. You, me, the man on the street and our Representatives in Congress all share this basic belief. The Federal Infrastructure Bill is one proposal. Is it the right one?
President Trump has proposed a new infrastructure bill. You can read it for yourself HERE. But some broad strokes, relative to the infrastructure construction industry, are as follows:
- $200 billion in Federal spending over 10 years, that attempts to leverage an additional $1.3 trillion in state-level spending (a 20/80 split).
- Expand the use of toll roads and loosen restrictions on the use of revenue from them.
- Expand the use of Pell grants to help pay for postsecondary programs, including short-term programs, apprenticeship programs, and more.
- Allow workers with out-of-state trade licenses to work on new infrastructure projects.
- Limit legal actions due to environmental concerns that can delay projects.
So, on paper, the Infrastructure bill is pretty ambitious. But is THIS bill the answer to what ails our infrastructure? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.
Infrastructure Bill supporters, such as Business Insider, say that:
- It pushes decision making down to the state level, where local priorities are better understood.
- Federal “seed money”, as opposed to huge grants, will force states to pick worthy projects – not boondoggles – since they are paying for most of them.
- A relaxed regulatory environment will speed up projects and cut compliance costs.
- Jobs will happen within 2 years as opposed to the typical 8 years it takes to launch a project.
But Infrastructure Bill detractors, such as the Brookings Institute and Weekly Standard, say:
- Will $200B in Fed money really stimulate $1.3 trillion in non-Fed money? Seems unlikely.
- “State level decision making” will still take a backseat to Federal purse-string influence.
- Federally funded projects will still feature all the usual Davis-Bacon wage controls.
Many folks, on both sides of the debate, feel that the President’s infrastructure bill has a very long row to hoe to ever become law. But one thing’s for sure: it’s got us talking about America’s aging Infrastructure. It’s a problem that’s not going away; it deserves the attention it’s getting – and then some!
At United Infrastructure Group, we feel that this is the right conversation at the right time. We all have a stake in this important issue. And we can all be a part of workable solutions that will keep the American economy growing.
What do YOU think? Let us know in the comments!