Shaky platforms: Democrat and Republican infrastructure policies

Shaky platforms: Democrat and Republican infrastructure policies

by Cliff Lynch
24. September 2012 12:40

By now, everyone should be aware that we have a serious infrastructure problem in the country. Many in government view infrastructure improvement as simply a vehicle to provide jobs, but it goes far beyond that. Our river dams and locks are old and crumbling; our highways in many cases are inadequate or in a state of disrepair; and even the railroads need more infrastructure to meet the demands of the next several years.

I thought it might be interesting to read the Republican and Democratic platforms for the upcoming election and see what each had to say about infrastructure. I am not taking a political position – just calling it as I see it.

Peace and Road Construction

First of all, both platforms address the subject, although the Democrats had less to say about it than the Republicans. They both support infrastructure improvement; and interestingly enough, both take credit for the recent highway funding bill. Considering the content of the bill as it was finally enacted, however, I am not sure I would be taking credit for it.

Neither party seems to have a firm plan for funding the improvements. The Republicans accused the Democrats of spending stimulus funds on cosmetic "shovel ready" projects rather than real structural improvements. The Democratic platform suggests that a portion of the money we have spent on wars will be diverted to infrastructure, and reforms will be initiated that will "better leverage government dollars." The Republicans stated that we will have to make some difficult choices in spending.

In other words, neither party seems to have a good handle on the issue, particularly when it comes to funding. I was reminded of the Cheshire cat's admonition to Alice, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there."

Image via John (mtsofan)

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