TruthOut: Opinion: Ellen Danin: Infrastructure 101, The Evolution of Building Big Things
Here’s one big issue where I tend to agree with people who are really are the Progressives in the country. Center-left Progressives who are to the Left of me, but definitely still mainstream leftists. And today’s let’s say so-called Progressives who have more of a socialist big government thinking when it comes to their politics. And infrastructure investment would be that issue and something we should’ve made a huge investment in as part of the 2009 Recover and Investment Act. Better known as the 2009 Stimulus bill.
There are even feelings on the Conservative-Right and perhaps even the Libertarian-Right, that we need to commit a lot of resources to our infrastructure system that we have a big financial hole there. And the questions have been about how to do this and how to pay for it. Conservatives would probably like to turn a lot over it to the private sector and perhaps pass a long-term highway bill in Congress as well and Libertarians would like to completely privatize a lot of our public infrastructure.
Progressives would like to raise a lot of taxes to pay for it and get that money to the states and construction industries to do a lot of this work as well. Myself as a Liberal would like to be a little more creative ad practical and sort of moved past Congress and the administration. Whoever is in power and get a lot of these decisions out of their hands and get a new independent authority involved. Who would spend all of their time on infrastructure investment. And simply being about what are the projects that need to be done.
What I’m talking about is creating a National Infrastructure Bank. An infrastructure investment group that would be in charge of prioritizing a lot of the infrastructure in America. And if the administration and Congress sees projects they believe need to be funded that weren’t, they could still pass bills to fund those projects and do oversight of the National Infrastructure Bank. But the NIB would be taking the lead in this.
And concentrating on what needs to be created or repaired in this country. Based on the best economic data and evidence around and what doesn’t need to be funded. And then find the resources in the private sector investors who would invest in these new projects. And projects that are being repaired and get their money back based on how often these projects are used by the public. Through fees like what Americans pay for using a road or crossing a bridge to use as examples.
According to the U.S. Core of Engineers we have roughly a one-trillion dollar infrastructure deficit in this country. We put that money in the economy and we could get two-trillion back alone with all the jobs that would be created and people spending money in the economy. And all the new ways we would create getting around this huge beautiful country and an NIB which would finance itself. Because it would get money from these infrastructure projects as well which would be a great way to do this.