Time for Infrastructure Urgency

Highways and Bridges

During his campaign for president, Donald Trump promised to invest $1 trillion in rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure. Whatever you thought of his candidacy, this was one idea we could all agree with. Our roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, dams, power plants and schools are falling apart and in urgent need of repair, renovation or replacement. And doing so would result in millions of man-hours for OPCMIA members.

Unfortunately, this campaign promise seems to have vanished into thin air. We’ve heard a few words spoken about a pathetic program of tax credits that would have lined the pockets of some corporations, done little to address the national crisis we face, and involved a tiny fraction of the $1 trillion needed, but that’s been it. No grand plans from the White House. No legislation proposed. No jobs created so far.

And this is an urgent crisis. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives near-failing grades of D to the condition of our airports, dams, drinking water, inland waterways, levees and roads. It gives a D+ to energy, hazardous waste, public parks, schools, and wastewater. Our bridges, ports, and solid waste facilities get grades of C+.

These grades are an utter disgrace. As far as I’m concerned, anything under an A ought to be unacceptable in the wealthiest, most advanced country on Earth. And more than that, they put our future at risk because a vibrant infrastructure is a prerequisite to economic growth.

So why is this not the number one priority of Congress and the president? Why aren’t we as a nation mobilizing to fix the foundations of our civilization and economy? And why not now? With interest rates at historic lows, we can do it more cheaply than ever, while creating millions of good-paying jobs and can help revive the middle class.

If this president thinks he can abandon his campaign pledge without being held accountable, he’s got another thing coming. If this Congress thinks it can ignore America’s most pressing economic need, it needs a harsh reality check.

That’s why I urge our members to call the White House and urge President Trump to uphold his promise to invest $1 trillion in America’s infrastructure. And why I also urge our members to call their U.S. representatives and senators with a loud and clear message: Fix our crumbling roads, bridges, dams, schools and the rest of our infrastructure now!

Daniel E. Stepano
General President