The Republican Budget is a Roadblock to Rebuilding Our Nation’s Infrastructure
By Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
House Republicans forced adjournment a day early last week in flight from a Senate Republican transportation bill. To find the source of the stand-off, look no further than the Republican budget. The surface transportation bill was a “two-for” – a readymade basic need during construction season – and a must-pass bill that must be authorized this year. Yet, the Republican budget, for the first time in our history, cut almost all new highway and transit funding. States would be left to fill potholes, but unable to begin a single new project.
Infrastructure needs must be met at some point, so Congress does itself no favor by its serial failures to meet the desperation in the states and D.C. for infrastructure dollars. The data shows that funds for ailing bridges, roads, and transit are the best way to fuel the economy with good jobs with good wages.
The Republican Congress gets no credit for a budget that would cut growth by 2.5 percent, and devastate almost 3 million jobs. Many of those jobs could be building roads, bridges, and transit projects right now.
There is no magical way to cut our way to a highway bill or to repair income inequality if the federal partner opts out. Building roads, bridges, and transit, the old-fashioned way of growing the economy, still works today, as it did when President Eisenhower initiated the surface transportation program 70 years ago.