This Week in Infrastructure: Searching for Sustainable Solutions

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Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado reflected this week on the significance of the grand opening of the Denver Union Station. His thoughts included discourse on the “foresight and generosity” of past generations to build highways and waterways that serve us today. He then implores his community—and us all—to consider what our legacy will be in ensuring such important infrastructure is built and maintained for future generations.

If this legacy was decided all upon our current funding situation, it would not be good. As FiveThirtyEight puts it, “The United States has an infrastructure problem.” Other reports are equally scathing. In Iowa the headline starts with the word troubles—never a good sign. An article written in Hawaii describes how Congress’ inability to act could undermine the state’s transportation. Just a year ago, the Skagit River Bridge collapsed in Washington state. This event illustrated the need for investment, but unfortunately seems like a distant memory in these discussions.

Congress is “scrambling” to find a solution before the Highway Trust Fund starts seeing red (in late July or early August), and while that’s better than doing nothing, the hope is that lawmakers make it a priority, and offer a multi-year bill that is designed to support today’s needs. On Thursday Sen. Wyden made positive remarks suggesting that these hopes could be fulfilled. The Senator from Oregon described a Senate Finance Committee meeting as “a productive discussion” on finding funding for both the near and long term, and is committed to finding a sustainable solution to #fixtheTrustFund.

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