Progress or politics?

By Robert Carpenter | August 2008 Vol. 63 No. 8

Historically, several organizations have been lobbying and pleading with Congress for decades to increase funding. Though there have been minor victories, as a whole, those efforts have fallen short of their goals. Reorganization and new alliances in recent years have tried to present a more concerted effort and, if Pelosi and Reid are any indication, may be making progress. Of course, in all the various political “infrastructure” programs being bandied about by both sides of the political spectrum, the underground remains an afterthought once bridges, roads, railroads, etc. have been covered. But the mere fact that underground infrastructure is being mentioned represents a quantum leap up the political awareness scale. Make no mistake though; we still have a long, uphill climb ahead of us.

Is Pelosi’s proposal worth considering? Absolutely, though the funding and disposition of said funds would mark an extremely intense battle in Congress. I’m not even sure if the infrastructure “bank” is the right approach, but at least it’s a starting point for serious discussion.

Will there be a second economic stimulus bill that includes major infrastructure spending – including underground – such as Reid is suggesting? There are just too many variables to make a prediction.

Pelosi and Reid are both known for floating “concepts” widely appealing to voters without ever following up. But here’s your chance Nancy and Harry to impress us with a solid and comprehensive program to support the underground infrastructure backbone of America. Make us proud of your initiative rather than becoming further disenchanted. Remember, your leadership and Congress’ 9 percent approval rating can’t go much lower. Our infrastructure needs help now.