Congress

Report Details Failing Infrastructure Ahead of Expected Bill

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

Congressional Democrats are close to sending a coronavirus relief package to President Biden's desk and once they do it'll be time to move on to the next significant spending bill which could be an infrastructure package.

Before Democrats in Congress begin debate on a bill, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has released a report that details our most critical needs and failings. And it's pretty bleak.

Using a letter grading scale, they say no area of our national infrastructure is worthy of an 'A' rating and most areas fall into the 'D' rating.

The biggest projected gap is in surface transportation, which faces $1.2 trillion in projected unmet needs over 10 years, while water systems face $434 billion and schools $380 billion in funding gaps.

In total, 11 of 17 categories reviewed merited “D” range grades -- “aviation, dams, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, public parks, roads, schools, stormwater, transit, and wastewater.” The report cited incremental gains in aviation, drinking water, energy, inland waterways, and ports.

They also project that the cost of doing nothing will be far higher than the cost of investing in infrastructure.

“We risk significant economic losses, higher costs to consumers, businesses and manufacturers – and our quality of life – if we don’t act urgently,” said ASCE Executive Director Thomas Smith in a statement. [...]

The report said that without a significant infrastructure hike, by 2039 the U.S. economy will lose $10 trillion in growth, exports will decline by $2.4 trillion and 3 million jobs will be lost.

We should be investing more money in our own future the way other countries like China are. It's good economics and good policy. Spending money now will avoid future losses down the figurative and literal road.

With that said, no one has to step out on a long limb to predict that Republicans in Congress will object to whatever a Democratic infrastructure bill ends up looking like.

I don't know if an infrastructure spending bill is critical enough to justify ending the legislative filibuster, or if passing one could be done using reconciliation, but Democrats shouldn't count on any Republican support.

That applies to everything coming down the pipe, of course. Virtually every single policy that Democrats prioritize this year will be filibustered in the Senate because the Republican party is not a governing party; they're a permanent opposition party.