How the infrastructure bill could easily be engineered to also build justice.
Four years after Trump promised major investment, Pennsylvania’s infrastructure remains among the worst in the nation.
Audits of the wealthy and corporations have steeply declined at the same time the agency has begun withholding tax refunds for low-income recipients of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Decades of ballot-box budgeting and artificial constraints on lawmakers’ authority have created a kind of vice grip around Sacramento. With Prop. 6 the voters decided not to tighten the screws.
Co-published by The American Prospect
Beyond jeopardizing road repairs and mass transit, Prop. 6 would strike at the very nature of governance itself in the Golden State.
On this year’s campaign trail, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump talked about rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure of airports, bridges, dams and highways to boost blue-collar job growth.
Across the country, chronic underinvestment has left roads, bridges, water systems and other critical infrastructure in need of replacement or costly repair. Public financing is the least expensive way to meet these needs. But to fund the gap, some states and cities are turning to contracting arrangements called “public-private partnerships,” or “P3s” for short, which use private capital to finance public projects.
If done right, infrastructure projects—however they’re financed—can tackle inequality by boosting economic growth and providing quality jobs for disadvantaged communities. But since capital in P3s is more expensive than in public financing, and the public loses control over many aspects of P3-financed infrastructure, we should demand even more public benefit in return.
Thursday, along with the Partnership for Working Families (PWF), we released a report to help make sure P3s provide much-needed pathways to the middle class. The report, Building America While Building Our Middle Class,
Lucy Dunn has a message for Republican lawmakers: Approve new revenue now to fix California’s decaying highway and bridge system or face severe economic consequences that will be felt throughout the state for decades.
Dunn is no big-spending liberal and you won’t find a Proud to Be Union bumper sticker on her car. In fact, she’s president of the influential Orange County Business Council and a card-carrying Republican. But to Dunn, funding long-neglected transportation maintenance and repairs is an existential issue for California’s business community.
“If you can’t move people and goods on safe roads and bridges, you cannot do business in the state,” Dunn tells Capital & Main.
This fundamental lesson was brought to urgent life in July, when a bridge collapsed along Interstate 10 during heavy rains,
Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger once termed it the “stuff [I] used to blow up in the movies.” But America’s vital infrastructure—highways, railways, bridges and thruways—now face a doom worse than the Terminator ever imagined. That’s the destruction from the rust, decay and corrosion of trillions of dollars worth of elderly tracks, canals, ports, structures and causeways that carry our trade and traffic all over the United States.
Sixty-one thousand bridges, located mostly in local jurisdictions, are potentially dangerous. That U.S. rail systems are about $60 billion behind on maintenance (as of five years ago) was tragically illustrated by the recent fatal Pennsylvania Amtrak disaster, blamed on the delayed installation of a new control system. Last month’s burst oil pipeline in Santa Barbara County also underscored the deterioration of even private infrastructure. Both tragedies demonstrated that continued neglect comes with a fast rising cost in both money and lives. For more than a decade,
From boiling the soon-to-be-mashed potatoes to rinsing the fruits and vegetables, clean water is an essential ingredient in every household that will be preparing Thanksgiving dinner.
And yet, the absence of adequate federal support means our public water systems are under threat. Over the next 20 years, U.S. water systems will likely require a staggering $2.8 to $4.8 trillion investment, and for-profit corporations such as Veolia and Suez are jumping at the opportunity to privatize America’s water supply so they can pocket a portion of those trillions we’ll need to spend.
A new report released by Corporate Accountability International with Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), shows that promises made by private water corporations fail to materialize or come at the expense of deferred infrastructure maintenance, skyrocketing water rates and risks to public health.
The good news, however, is that cities across the country and all over the world are increasingly rejecting water privatization and are taking back public control of their water systems.
To say that Ed Wytkind likes to talk about America’s epic failure to invest in transportation is akin to saying that Pauline Kael enjoyed critiquing films or that Christopher Hitchens was fond of writing political commentary. Because Wytkind, who heads the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department and will be honored next month at the L.A. Alliance for a New Economy’s City of Justice Awards, lives and breathes transportation, and is determined to bring the issue front and center in the national conversation.
Wytkind, one of the country’s leading advocates for long-term investment in such things as mass transit and air travel modernization, offers a powerful case that the future of America’s economy is inextricably linked with our decision to either fund or starve our transit systems. And he can be a fierce critic of Congressional inaction on such priorities as full of funding Amtrak and repair of the nation’s neglected highways and bridges.
A new report from the Alliance for American Manufacturing has United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard renewing his call to repair the crumbling American infrastructure. The report, prepared by Republican former head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and Robert B. Stephan, a former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Infrastructure Protection, draws disturbing correlations between weak infrastructure and lack of domestic manufacturing with the ability to respond to and recover from disasters and terrorism.
The report reads like an assessment on national security, with Ridge and Stephan referring to the decimation of the American steel industry, the sorry state of infrastructure and over-reliance on foreign actors as indicative of America’s vulnerable position. Ridge and Stephan go so far as to state that placing the building blocks of America in foreign hands leaves them susceptible to substandard labor and hostile political forces. Ridge and Stephan cite toxic Chinese wallboard used for post-Katrina construction and Chinese-made sections of the [San Francisco-]Oakland Bay Bridge that were sent back due to manufacturing defects as examples.