Sunday, July 8, 2018

Whither Infrastructure?

What a great word. Infrastructure. People of all stripes and models use it earnestly despite its awkwardness. It means so much and is so difficult to romanticize.

I'll stop.

Remember when infrastructure was going to be first on the new president's agenda? It was going to be the issue that Democrats and Republicans could rally behind because, really, roads, bridges, the power grid, airports, public transportation systems, etc., in this country are dreck and need a massive infusion of money and attention at every level of government.

So what happened? My sense is that the issue is far too big and unsexy for a president who loves controversy and chaos and attention, but is short on policy knowledge. And it would take a whole bag of dough to get all of these projects going and the tax bill put a major hole in the federal budget. Add in the ideological opposition that Republicans have to spending taxpayer money in urban areas that voted Democratic and you have the kind of political blindness and ignorance that comes around once in a great while. Forget North Korea and dismantling the health care system. Neglecting infrastructure will cost lives if we don't get going soon.

To be fair, the president did talk about infrastructure early in his administration and said that it would be great and that we would do it, but we haven't. Meanwhile, the trains get worse, the roads get worse, airports get worse, bridges get worse, power outages get worse, and we don't seem to be interested in moving forward on securing our economic lifeblood, roads and airports, or repairing and upgrading them anytime soon.

Wouldn't this create jobs? Ensure safety? Allow us to compete more broadly with countries around the world that have functioning and improved infrastructure? Make know, great? Of course it would, which is why it's so low on the list of things this administration wants to do. My fear is that it's going to take a great tragedy to get this administration to commit political capital to rebuilding these facilities. And even then, I can see them blaming everyone before they settle on a plan that will likely be less than what's absolutely necessary.

They haven't a plan, and they really haven't a clue.

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