While the House and Senate approved a 5-year, $305 billion transportation infrastructure bill to address the nation’s deteriorating roads and bridges, Michael Collins, president of MPC Consulting, isn’t sure this bill is the solution.
The includes the following items:
- $207.4 billion for transportation projects
- $48.7 billion for mass transit
- $8 billion for Amtrak
- $1 billion for highway safety programs
- A subsidy for the farm states that reinstated their private crop insurance.
- Reinstating the Export–Import Bank
While all of these are positive developments, Collins says the bill still “fails to address a chronic shortfall in financing for the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which pays for such projects, and has been the subject of a fierce long-running disagreement over federal tax policy. In fact, how to pay for this program remains vague and is still being debated.”
Collins points out that the “ bill appropriated no money for water and sewer problems or for the electrical grid. Water contamination causes 5,500 citizens to get sick every year, and there are 240,000 water main breaks every year. Meanwhile, the electrical demand has exceeded the building of transmission lines by 25% per year.
“Like it or not we are in the middle of an infrastructure collapse and we are going to have to pay for it by either raising taxes or deficit spending –- or we will pay for it through emergency funding, which is also deficit spending, that is estimated to be $189 billion per year.
“To make real progress and create jobs we need a minimum of $415 billion per year.
More on the transportation bill on IndustryWeek.