We as American citizens need to realize that more often than not, the federal government doesn’t have all the answers. This is especially true in regard to infrastructure funding. Transportation is a complex issue, and unfortunately, there is no one size fits all solution. So, what can our elected leaders do to guarantee a much-needed revival of our aging roadways, and meet the ever-growing needs? Get out of the way. It is as simple as keeping government from being the problem.
As Senator Rockefeller so aptly stated, “You can’t minimize yourself into greatness,” the same truth applies to transportation. The US cannot minimize its way into becoming a cutting edge transportation network. That being said, the key is to recognize smart investment strategies versus throwing armfuls of money at the problem and hoping it goes away. How can we do more for less? Private investment dollars hold the answer, as it does in so many cases.
Utilizing private investment banks to fund transportation isn’t a new idea – it was first proposed ten years ago during the Bush administration. And it’s about time the government learned to play smart by unleashing the power of private capital. The investment of private dollars in our nation’s infrastructure is contingent upon the same principals that the free market operates on, supplying the right product only where there is real demand. This is a crucial concept considering how varied our transportation needs are region to region. The private sector has the incentive to meet these needs as effectively as possible especially in terms of time and money, which is a lot more than can be said of the public sector.
Both Senator Thune and Senator Rockefeller are correct in asserting that up-to-date infrastructure is a necessary investment in our future, and without it a robust economy is out of question. Congress has yet to deliver so far, but there is room for improvement. Thune hits the nail on the head when suggesting that Congress can do more, but not without first examining where savings can be found within the department’s budget.
Let’s start by making sure current funds are kept on target and away from pet projects. The American populace demands action, and it is the government’s job to address these shortages in ways that won’t hurt the average Joe.