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America Badly Needs an Infrastructure Upgrade

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By Peter Levine Legislation

While we wait for details of President Donald Trump’s plan to spend $1 trillion over 10 years on the nation’s infrastructure, our roads, bridges, sewer systems, ports, dams and other infrastructure continue to deteriorate.

Trump touched on this infrastructure plan during his first address to Congress and the White House has reportedly begun working on an implementation strategy. But much remains unclear.

What is clear is a $1 trillion investment won’t be enough, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Their latest report, which was just released, gives America’s infrastructure a paltry D+. The ASCE estimates that the country needs to spend $4.6 trillion over the next eight years to modernize systems to an acceptable standard.

What we do know about Trump’s plan – which he outlined on the campaign trail – is that it will rely on tax credits and privatization to jumpstart growth. Trump’s bid to hire private contractors means little accountability, low wages for those who actually perform the work, and inferior services at higher costs. And on the back-end? The privilege of paying tolls to use our bridges, roads or drinking water.

In the view of this Washington Post opinion writer, it’s a bad deal for many reasons.

Alternatively, the recent Senate Democratic infrastructure plan avoids such privatization schemes. Bridges, roads, water and sewer systems would be upgraded, as would other areas, like increasing broadband access and modernizing our VA hospitals. Moreover, 15 million new jobs would be created over 10 years, and increased investment in roads and bridges would result in the average American saving $1,700 per year.

AFSCME endorses the Senate Democratic proposal. For hard-working families and our communities, this is the right plan.