Infrastructure can create jobs, if it's funded.
Highway and transit policy expires in 47 days. That means lawmakers have just over a month to figure out how to fund the Federal Highway Trust Fund – an answer that has evaded Congress since last July.
Everyone agrees that we must invest in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. And everyone agrees that we need a long-term infrastructure spending bill, not a Band-Aid approach.
But as each day passes, it seems that we’re likely headed for just that.
This Band-Aid approach to infrastructure funding has only made matters worse – harming global competitiveness and forgoing upwards of a million new American jobs. What's more, federal infrastructure investment returns 21,671 jobs per $1 billion, and each dollar spent yields $3.54 in economic impact.
Investment in infrastructure is a win-win. These investments provide the user with a more reliable experience, while providing jobs for thousands of workers across the country. As National Journal reports:
All this adds up to a more holistic perspective on public-transportation investment. The goal is to give people easy, affordable mobility. But it also can be a big boon to a town's local job market. Why not get two benefits for the price of one?
Just take a look at what’s happening in Lincoln, Nebraska – where Kawasaki Motors is building new subway cars for Washington, D.C.’s Metro system. The railcar company employs hundreds of workers in the Cornhusker state. Or in California, where Proterra, a maker of electric transit buses, is building a second plant after a stream of new orders.
We need to make long-term investments in our infrastructure. But will Congress take the easy and pothole-ridden road at the end of May, by passing another short-term fix? We hope not.