Did It Need to Take a Pandemic?

June 23, 2020
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Long-term funding for the nation’s crumbling infrastructure has been an issue for many years. The need for it has never been in question. Congress’s ability to get it done has typically fallen short. It’s not that this has been a partisan debate among lawmakers. Both Republicans and Democrats agree on the absolute need for funding. They just have not been able to agree on how to do it.

Now we find ourselves months-deep into the Coronavirus pandemic and dealing with a faltering economy and high unemployment. We are also finding the Federal Government looking for ways to reverse the impact of the pandemic.

The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Stephen E. Sandherr says, “House leaders understand that one of the best ways to promote new economic growth is by investing in the nation’s aging, and often over-burdened, infrastructure. These investments will create needed new construction careers, promote demand for new construction equipment and materials, and ensure that the economy will be more efficient and effective for years to come. The new House infrastructure proposal will provide the kind of tangible benefits our economy needs to recover.”

The US House of Representatives is now proposing a measure known as the Moving Forward Act, $1.5 trillion worth of investments in infrastructure.

Sandherr says of the Act, “The new measure also takes the broadest possible definition of infrastructure. In addition to investing in transportation systems, waterways, energy and drinking water, the measure also provides crucial funding for modernizing schools, health care facilities, new housing and environmental mitigation. These broad investments will support demand across many different construction sectors, helping offset expected declines in private sector activity.”

He adds, “There is a lot to this bill, and there are details in the proposal that must be improved as the measure works its way through the legislative process. Among those is the need to identify additional, sustainable, long-term funding for future infrastructure improvements. However, we support the goal of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, restoring demand for construction and reinvigorating our economy. That is why we are eager to work with both parties and the Trump administration to improve this proposal, with the goal of ultimately enacting a measure that helps rebuild America.”

I’m anxious to see the path the Moving Forward Act takes through the halls of Congress. I’m hopeful for quick and easy passage and implementation. But lingering in the back of my mind is the question, “Did it really take a pandemic to solve the problem of long-term infrastructure funding?”

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.