Editor's Log: They Got Theirs; What About Ours?

August 2012, Vol. 67 No. 8

A funding source has to be found, whether that be in the form of an infrastructure bank or something else yet to be determined. But what took centuries to create cannot be fully funded in a decade. The key will be to have steady funding that allows cities to steadily chip away at a rate exceeding infrastructure decay and natural system growth. What is the figure? I don’t know that anyone has a truly accurate target number, but that would be very interesting to know. Such a figure could be used as a baseline for the mythical infrastructure bank or other funding sources.

We have to realize that to repair/expand our infrastructure will take more than just the federal government. States and cities have to commit as well, working in a long-term, focused partnership. That may be unusual in these days of partisanship, but it is the only way a long-term infrastructure rescue plan can be effective.

Is this possible in these days of recession, annual trillion dollar deficits and 100 million Americans on the dole? The short answer is yes but only with a quantum change in the distribution of monies for entitlements and pork projects. Admittedly, such a change may be dreaming the impossible dream.

But the positives could rescue America. Tackling our massive infrastructure problems in an aggressive, stay-ahead-of-the-curve approach would stimulate massive job creation at solid wages and for long-term duration. Much better to increase our federal coffers with a large, dutifully employed workforce generating tax dollars than to stress our country with a perpetual budget-cutting crisis and increasing taxes.

An over-simplification? Sure, the concept is sound. It’s the bureaucratic reality that stands in the way.