The Opinion Pages of The New York Times presented a series of reasons “We Should Be in a Rage” and among them were—you guessed it—because of the state of our nation’s infrastructure.
These grievances, along with suggestions and productive dialogue to change it, appeared in print across the country this week. In Mississippi, one writer named legislators’ neglect as the reason for low grades, and given that the state legislature once again passed on increasing the state gas tax, the frustration is understandable. For, as the Mayor of San Diego demonstrated, improving infrastructure takes time and money.
Infrastructure provides a better quality of life, and as the decision-makers continue to appreciate its significance, new ideas for funding are being implemented. The desire to have long-term plans is also a promising development, especially as it could help combat the issues many states—including Oregon and Wisconsin—are currently facing. The watershed law Pennsylvania enacted last fall is proving the value of a strong transportation bill. Such legislation is unfortunately still often only discussed and debated and not enacted, including this week in Illinois and Indiana.
New transportation legislation is also currently just a goal at the federal level. However, on Thursday Sen. Boxer and fellow senators announced the Environment and Public Works Committee’s commitment to a six-year bill to replace MAP-21, the current law authorizing the Highway Trust Fund. While only the start of a long process, this at least means state DOTs can rest a little easier, and continue with transportation projects and the jobs that come with them.