Video 24 May 85 notes

U.S. infrastructure spending has plummeted since 2008

How did this happen? States and local governments are the biggest part of the story here. They’ve historically provided the vast majority of spending for roads, highways and bridges, and they’ve been pulling back on spending since 2008 as a result of the economic downturn and requirements to balance their budgets. California’s transportation spending declined by 31 percent from 2007 to 2009, for instance. Texas’s fell by 8 percent.

At the same time, Congress hasn’t filled in the gap. There was a one-time $46 billion infusion of transportation spending in the stimulus bill. But that wasn’t enough to offset the drop at the state and local level. Meanwhile, the most recent highway bill out of Congress kept federal spending at current levels rather than increasing it.

The big question is whether Congress should be spending more — and if so, how much? We’ve seen various reports arguing that America’s infrastructure is in dire need of an upgrade. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s bridges a C in its 2013 report card, and said that full repairs would cost $20 billion per year over the next decade, a 60 percent boost in spending. These estimates don’t always take a full account of costs and benefits, but the I-5 collapse will no doubt give these groups more ammo.

Another consideration, meanwhile, is that Congress can borrow money for remarkably low rates right now. And experts say it’s typically cheaper to fix roads and bridges early on rather than wait until they get truly decrepit. That suggests now could be an apt time to invest in repairs, rather than putting them off until later.

Top: All infrastructure spending; bottom: spending on highways and roads.

#politics #infrastructure #transportation #bridge collapse

  1. leotardsanity reblogged this from sonofwarandwisdom and added:
    Yeah, whatever. I get to drive through infrastructure spending in process whenever I want to go anywhere. (X) (X) (X)
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  10. aka14kgold reblogged this from generalbriefing and added:
    Republicans will literally allow the country to starve, fall off bridges, be indentured servants, die for want of just...
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  16. jaison96 reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias and added:
    Really? When our Infrastructure as a country is a D+?!?
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