Monday, September 06, 2010

On the road again

This from

Seeking to bolster the sluggish economy, President Barack Obama will use a Labor Day appearance in Milwaukee today to announce a new infrastructure plan designed to expand and renew the nation’s roads, railways and runways. A White House official tells POLITICO: “The president will work with Congress to enact a new up-front investment in our nation’s infrastructure – an investment that would help jump-start additional job creation, while also laying the foundation for future growth. This initial investment would fund improvements in the nation’s surface transportation, as well as our airports and air traffic control system." The measures include the “establishment of an Infrastructure Bank to leverage federal dollars, and focus on investments of national and regional significance that often fall through the cracks in the current siloed transportation programs," and “the integration of high-speed rail on an equal footing into the surface transportation program.”

Call this big government if you wish, but if you have spent any time on America's roads or transportation systems then you know that repair and upgrade is necessary. That need becomes even more apparent if you spend time in other countries that have made important investments in their roads, bridges, and transportation modes.

Yes, the president's detractors will have a field day with this idea (can't you already here "this is another stimulus package!"?). Let them. This time they're as wrong as they can possibly be. In fact, inaction at this moment would be a big mistake. 

But what is more interesting to me is how Republican gubernatorial incumbents and candidates will respond to the idea -- their states would benefit from such programs, and potentially in big ways.

The anger of the American populace at our government and its frustration with a stalled economy is certainly going to come down on the Democrats this November. A pummeling at the polls is now seen as a given. This is the party that provided a necessary economic stimulus, significant change to health care and a plan to improve our infrastructure. Think about that for a moment.

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