Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Congress needs to prioritize infrastructure

The Teamsters have been (and will continue to be) leading advocates in the need for the U.S. to improve its transportation infrastructure. It starts with coming up with a long-term funding plan. But right now, Congress is failing in its duties.

More money is needed to repair rail and roads.
Right before lawmakers adjourned for the August recess, Capitol Hill whiffed on its latest attempt at a multi-year agreement. The House and Senate could not reach a deal on a possible six-year proposal, and instead chose yet another three-month fix that allows current work to continue through the end of October.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said it is time for a united front on the issue that gets people working and improves road and rails for workers and travelers alike:
Yet again, too many lawmakers are not devoting the necessary effort to move a long-term transportation bill through Congress that will address this nation’s broad transportation infrastructure needs. Those on Capitol Hill must move past their ideological differences and find solutions that help the American people and the economy.
The problems this nation faces are truly serious. Whether it is a lack of positive train control for passenger rail or up-to-date bridges that won't crumble due to weather, the needs cannot be discounted. But elected officials don't seem to be taking the problem seriously.

Part of the problem could be that the same wealthy forces who stir the pot to make sure money is spent on items they value don't see it as a priority. As noted in the book "Injustice: While Social Inequality Still Persists," the rich in the U.S. are now more likely to live in cities, and thus don't value road spending. They also don't generally use mass transit. Meanwhile, infrastructure suffers.

Whatever the reason, it needs to stop. Investing in transportation would not only help people, it would help the economy. It would bring items to market quicker and more safely. It would boost American spending by creating new jobs. It's a win-win for everyone.

There are simply no more good excuses, When Congress returns to Washington after Labor Day, it's time to get it done. Let's get America working!