A bold ambitious plan addressing our crumbling roads, bridges and highways that also modernizes and vastly expands our telecommunications and transportation infrastructure is something that President Biden and Congress should be able to pass now and without much controversy. But for this increasingly polarizing administration, it seems that passing a bipartisan bill in Washington is so 1990s and they won't even consider it.
Economists from across the political spectrum warn about the staggering economic costs of not improving infrastructure in addition to highlighting the benefits that doing so will provide for our economy.
When the Biden administration first unveiled a $2 trillion spending plan for "infrastructure," Republicans, Democrats, independents, the business community and generally anyone who drives, takes a bus, train, plane, etc. were probably doing cartwheels in gratitude — until they read the details.
In terms of real infrastructure, it only provides a fraction of the funding that is needed. Some estimates state that as little as 6% of the $2 trillion proposed "infrastructure" spending would actually be spent on infrastructure improvements.
This phony "infrastructure" plan is actually an excessively generous, luxurious, thank you gift list for the top special interest groups that supported the Biden presidential campaign. In reality, this administration is telling us that investing in our infrastructure is unimportant.
Unfortunately, the Republican party has failed to expose the "Biden Special Interest Group Rewards Program" disguised as an infrastructure bill. Quite predictably, some members of the GOP have taken the Chamber of Commerce bait and made the counter-argument focused largely about taxes on business.
It is foolhardy to debate the cost of an infrastructure bill that does nothing to help improve our infrastructure. It plays right into the hands of progressives working to conceal that fact.
Republicans need to tell the American people that the Biden plan should be defeated because improving and expanding our infrastructure is vital to protecting our economy. They need to provide details on how and why investing in infrastructure will strengthen our economy.
Here is the argument the GOP should be making:
The American Society for Civil Engineers recently released its 2021 report card on infrastructure (based on 17 categories including aviation, roads, water, bridges, transit) and gave the U.S. a grade of C-.
The United States has the world's largest economy but is ranked only 13th in infrastructure, according to a report issued by the World Economic Forum in 2019, down eight spots from fifth place in 2002.
According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, 220,000 bridges need to be repaired (36% of the total), 79,500 bridges need to be replaced entirely. There are 45,000 structurally deficient bridges in this country.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that over 20% of our highways are in need of repair. There are also (DOT) studies indicating that 14,000 people die each year because of bad road conditions. According to research scientist Ted Miller, the cost of medical injuries due to poor road conditions was $11.4 billion in 2013.
There are numerous studies attempting to measure lost productivity of drivers stuck in traffic every year due to bottlenecks caused by roads in need of repair. For all the obstacles and costs faced by drivers commuting to work, there is nothing quite like riding in a bus falling apart or a train car that feels as if it is going to split in half.
You haven't totally experienced life in the big city until you have to tell your boss or supervisor that you were late to a meeting because you were stranded by a broken down bus or train. This happens all over the country every day, but is not exactly something anyone wants to discuss for several and obvious reasons.
Infrastructure is also critical for protecting the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are approximately 240,000 water main breaks each year in the United States. This costs us $2.6 billion and we lose more than 2 trillion gallons of drinking water!
Large parts of the country not only lack access to reliable broadband internet coverage, but many people also don't have operable cellular phone connectivity. The new economy requires access to reliable phone and internet services, whether you are an investment banker in Manhattan, a farmer in Weiser, Idaho, or a small business owner in Great Falls, Mont.
We need to modernize our airports and strengthen our railways. Focusing on infrastructure will boost productivity, save jobs and create new ones. The Biden plan does none of that. It ignores infrastructure in favor of behemoth spending on special interests that will cost jobs and endanger our position as the world's biggest economy. Republicans should talk about that and ignore the red herrings of a plan that is basically about anything and everything except infrastructure.
Nicholas Chamberas has advised good government advocacy groups, elected officials and political candidates on public policy matters as well as having served as a senior adviser on several prominent New York City campaigns. He holds a degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctor. Read Nicholas Chamberas Reports — More Here.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.