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US Can No Longer Afford Crumbling Infrastructure

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Monday, 12 Feb 2018 04:52 PM Current | Bio | Archive

U.S. infrastructure over the past few decades has been neglected in its need to be built anew, as well as in repair and maintenance of the old.

It's common sense that America has an obligation first and foremost to have infrastructure components like bridges, roads, tunnels, electric grids, levees — and more — which are state of the art, while being second to none.

The White House reports that according to the most recent report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers, America’s infrastructure received a D plus grade. That mark takes into account tens of thousands of roads, bridges, tunnels, etc. — all across our nation.

That report does not even take into account other critical infrastructures like our old and decaying electric grid, nation's airports, and train systems.

Infrastructure not maintained costs jobs and costs citizens money in the form of lost income and the time wasted reparing vehicles damaged by crumbling roads.

Investment in infrastructure is not a want it is a need. That need is now.

The president is answering the call to build, repair and maintain America’s infrastructure and what better person to do it than a man who made his life’s work in building iconic real estate both at home and abroad.

This week the president unveiled a 6-point plan for infrastructure investment:

Investing $200 billion in Federal funds to spur at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments, through partner financing at the State, local, tribal, and private level.

1. Focusing on rural America, which has been left behind for too long.

2. Returning authority to State and local governments.

3. Reducing regulatory barriers that needlessly get in the way of infrastructure projects.

4. Streamlining and shortening permitting processes for infrastructure projects.

5. And, supporting and strengthening America’s workforce.

In order to finance the president’s plan it requires state and local investment, cooperation, and participation. The federal government will take the lead but will not be left holding the bag. Here is a breakdown of infrastructure investment costs: 

  • $200 billion in Federal funds will spur at least $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure investments.

  • Federal infrastructure spending will promote State, local, and private investments and maximize the value of every taxpayer dollar.

  • Of the $200 billion, $100 billion will create an Incentives Program to spur additional dedicated funds from States, localities, and the private sector.

  • Applications for the Incentives Program will be evaluated on objective criteria, with creating additional infrastructure investment being the largest factor.

  • The Incentives Program will promote accountability, making Federal funding conditional on projects meeting agreed upon milestones.

  • $20 billion will be dedicated to the Transformative Projects Program.

  • This program will provide federal aid for bold and innovative projects that have the potential to dramatically improve America’s infrastructure.

  • The program will focus on projects that could have a significant positive impact on States, cities, and localities but may not attract private sector investment because of the project’s unique characteristics.

  • $20 billion will be allocated to expanding infrastructure-financing programs.

  • Of the $20 billion, $14 billion will go to expanding a number of existing credit programs: TIFIA, WIFIA, RRIF, and rural utility lending.

  • $6 billion will go to expanding private activity bonds.

  • $10 billion will go to a new Federal Capital Revolving Fund, which will reduce inefficient leasing of Federal real property, which would be more cost-effective to purchase.

  • A new fund will allow some incremental revenues from energy development on public lands to pay for the capital and maintenance needs of public lands infrastructure.

If there’s one thing president Trump has proven during his first yearin office, it is that the American economy can easily shatter expectations — that is, if Washington, D.C. gets out of the way.

The D.C. naysayers and handwringers claim that infrastructure can only be built correctly if they make all the decisions while controlling the purse strings.

One look at crumbling bridges and roads across America shows that approach has failed.

Instead of sending taxpayer money to Washington only to have it eventually trickle back down to communities along with a host of new restrictions and requirements, the president wants to allow communities to keep more of their funds and make their own decisions, as well as simplify the federal bureaucratic maze.

How is it possible that we have spent billions of dollars on foreign infrastructure yet we neglect our own?

Now is the time to put America first, undertaking an investment plan directed towards America’s infrastructure. This is long overdue and sorely needed. Infrastructure rebuilding should not be a partisan issue. It's an American issue, and a matter of national security and national pride. Now, let’s get to work!

Bradley Blakeman was a member of President George W. Bush's senior White House staff from 2001 to 2004. He is also a frequent contributor to Fox News and Fox Business Channel. He currently is a Principal with the 1600group.com a consulting company. — Click Here Now.

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Infrastructure not maintained costs jobs and costs citizens money in the form of lost income and the time wasted repairing vehicles damaged by crumbling roads. Investment in infrastructure is not a want it is a need. That need is now.
rrif, tifia, wifia
Monday, 12 Feb 2018 04:52 PM
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