Whose Job Is It Anyway?

April 19, 2017

I recently saw something on a reputable news website that has me appalled. There allegedly is some wheeling and dealing going on, and I would like to hear from you. But first a heads up, I’m going to keep the names of people and businesses out, in an attempt to drop or set aside any political leaning from the discussion. This is not a political issue for me. This is about what is good for the country and the economy.

It’s being reported that an American businessman, with ties to extremely high-placed executives in the federal government, has made contact with a foreign business entity, in order to instruct that foreign company on how to win infrastructure contracts that are anticipated in the United States.

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Admittedly, I haven’t put much thought into the possibility of countries from overseas swooping in to win billions of dollars of infrastructure contracts, let alone an American teaching them how to do it. I assumed those contracts would automatically go to domestic contractors. If it’s not automatic, it should be. I would prefer that my tax dollars pay an American company to repair, replace, or refurbish American infrastructure, and that company then hires employees, who in turn will go out and spend their income on American goods and services, thus improving the US economy.

If the White House and Congress are somehow able to secure $1 trillion for infrastructure, if the contracts for billions of dollars’ worth of projects start getting awarded, and if foreign companies were being awarded a large amount of those contracts, how well would that sit with you?

If it doesn’t sit well, maybe we should start doing what some of these foreign-based companies are doing, and start learning how to win these upcoming infrastructure projects. Start lobbying that the work goes to US companies.

The ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card says, “Smart investment will only be possible with leadership, planning, and a clear vision for our nation’s infrastructure. Leaders from all levels of government, business, labor, and nonprofit organizations must come together to ensure all investments are spent wisely, prioritizing projects with critical benefits to the economy, public safety, and quality of life, while also planning for the costs of building, operating, and maintaining the infrastructure for its entire lifespan. To do so, we must:

  • Require all projects greater than $5 million that receive federal funding use life cycle cost analysis and develop a plan for funding the project, including its maintenance and operation, until the end of its service life.
  • Create incentives for state and local governments and the private sector to invest in maintenance, and to improve the efficiency and performance of existing infrastructure.
  • Develop tools to ensure that projects most in need of investment and maintenance are prioritized, to leverage limited funding wisely.
  • Streamline the project permitting process across infrastructure sectors, with safeguards to protect the natural environment, to provide greater clarity to regulatory requirements, bring priority projects to reality more quickly, and secure cost savings.
  • Identify a pipeline of infrastructure projects attractive to private sector investment and public-private partnership.”
Do we need to chant “U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A?”